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Jeff Kraker explains his "less is more" theory

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Jeff Kraker explains his "less is more" theory
Posted by coaltrain on Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:06 AM

First off, I normally do not refer to myself in the third person as the subject of this post may imply.

I was made aware that there was a long thread on the subject of my layout being better because it is smaller by another poster, so I thought I would clear the matter up and explain what I meant.

 My layout is not better than a bigger layout, it is better for me than a larger layout because it got me to the point I wanted to be, at the quality level I wanted, and for the amount of time and money I had to spend.  My first layout was large and required a lot of money to build, and I just did not make very much money at that time.  First off, wood is expensive, and good wood is even more expensive.  My first layout required large amounts of plywood, and since I wanted to use good quality 3/4" plywood for the subroad bed and it was costing me a small fortune.  When I started building the first layout my wife and I just got married, bought a house, had two kids, and had very low paying jobs.  I could only afford a sheet of plywood every few months.  My larger layout had a big staging yard on a lower level which required a helix to reach the first level.  To build that helix and staging yard, plus the Atlas code 100 flex track, took me a very long time because I had to buy small amounts of those materials over a very long time.  After five years I only had the staging yard done, the helix built, and the visible tracks into the main yard which was located just as you exited the staging yard.  I did have most of the lower level benchwork in and about 80% of the subroad bed in before I stopped construction.

 That first layout I was building had nice wide aisles and 36" min mainline radius with #6 and #8 turnouts.  There was a nice long run up a grade and over a few bridges, and some tunnels.  The layout had more of an open Appalachian mountain feel with coal tipples spread along the line and even had space for a branchline that split off the main a ways up the mainline from the yard.  Almost all the track after staging was visible except for a few tunnels for effect.  Trains would have been 20 cars average.

 I started building the first railroad with the idea that it would be set some time in the 60s and be all diesel powered, but along the way I became more interested in steam operations and decided to switch eras.  the cost of switching from diesel to steam was pretty high, at the time there was no ebay (at least that I was aware of then) and I purchased my steam locomotive kits new from the local hobby shop, and being someone that liked a high level of detail found that steam locomotives can eat up big bucks in brass detail parts.  Diesel builders have it made with the lower cost styrene detail parts while steam builders have to use high cost brass castings.  Most of my steam locomotives have $80 or more of detail parts added, and if you consider that I was adding sound decoders (at the time were about $180 off the shelf), and can motors, most of my steam locomotives were running me $300-$400 per locomotive.  My operating schedule was going to require about 20 steam locomotives to simulate all the trains, and that would be just enough.  To ease the transition I decided to start at the mid 50s so I could use some of my diesels and work toward the day when I would be all steam. The current layout operates with 7 locomotives, but I keep 9 on the layout for fun.

I also had to deal with the amount of freight cars that I was going to require with the larger layout, at the time I started the layout your average Athearn blue box kit was about $3.50 per hopper, add Kadee couplers and metal wheels and your average hopper without paint and decals (which I had custom made by Rail Graphics) was about $8 with tax, so a 20 car train was going to run me about $160 dollars.  I also figured that I would need to have almost tripled the amount of hopper cars to account for cars spotted at tipples, cars in the yard, and cars in trains on the staging tracks, so I was looking at needing about 300 hopper cars to fill the layout, and that is not counting general freight cars.  So even if I had built more tracks to run trains on I only had acquired and built about 50 cars and only had about 20 of those weathered. My current layout operates with 100 hoppers and 60 general freight cars.

Some said in the post that they did not understand why after five years I did not run a train more than a few feet, and that they could build a layout with snap track and have it running in a weekend.  Once again, due to cost reasons I had to hand lay my track because it was cheaper, which was something new to me and took me several hours to make one turnout when I started.  Once I had a few made I got it down to under two hours per turnout.  I was building turnouts for about $4 apiece, and at the time all that we had for code 70 and code 83 turnouts were about $15 dollars apiece. The only cheap track at the time I was building my first layout was Atlas code 100 and I wanted to have finer scale looking track. Also, turnouts at the time were not DCC friendly and it took a lot of work to convert those expensive prefab turnouts.

I also had very little time on my hands back then (still do) and I was only getting a couple hours a week to work on the layout, and most of those hours were not in a row.  Most of the time I would get about 45 minutes of time to work on stuff, and with so much to do I would spend a good amount of that time just trying to figure out what to do next.  I had to change the way I worked on stuff and learned to be much more focused.  I would use my lunch breaks to plan my work flow so that when I did get to the layout room I knew exactly what I was going to do and could start on it right away, a technique that I used on the current layout to get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time.

So the first layout suffered because of time and money, I just could not afford to build the layout I wanted with the funds I had and the time I had to do it, which is why it never ran, there was just too much stuff to do and I was young and did not have a life time or equipment saved up, I had to buy it all as I needed it at list prices from the local hobby shops.  Things have changed with internet hobby shops, ebay, new and cheaper technology, and more personal skill and knowledge to be able to work better.

My goal when we moved into our current home was to get a layout to the point that all tracks would be in and I could host operating sessions within a couple years.  To meet my goal would require a layout that did not have a ton of track, need a ton of rolling stock, require several DCC throttles, and require a mountain of lumber to build.  I learned how to use CAD software and used my lunch breaks to design the entire benchwork and roadbed in scale, which I plotted out full size and made templates that could be placed on the plywood to minimize waste when cutting out the road bed.  I again wanted to use high quality lumber because I had some trouble on the previous layout where I tried to skimp and used some old plywood shipping crates to speed up construction and keep cost down, well most of that wood warped so bad I had to tear it all out.  For the new layout I carefully made cutting diagrams of the 1x4 boards so I would also minimize waste.  When I went to the lumber yard I purchased kiln dried lumber and when I went home I marked each board out and numbered all the pieces so that I could just sit and cut lumber all at once.  Having the layout that is smaller allowed me to not be overwhelmed by this kind of tedious design work, in the past I just grabbed a board and cut off what I needed, normally doing it that way causes a lot of boards that are just a little too short to use and a new board is required.

Once I had all the boards cut I took a day off work, told the wife I was going to be busy, got a box of screws and grabbed my fully charged screw gun and when at it.  It took me one night to get the benchwork in and two more days to get all the roadbed in place.  Two weeks after that I was gluing my first tie strips in place.  If I was starting over on my old layout, knowing how to plan with CAD, had a power saw (didn't then), and if I had four times the money, I could have had the benchwork done faster the second time around.  I just don't have a ton of time and money to throw into my hobby, it is still a hobby for me and I spend a very small amount of time and money on it, not because I don't want to, I just can't at this stage of my life.  I wanted to have a layout that operated, looked somewhat finished, and looked like it had a high level of detail, and I just can't do that on a larger layout.

Now, for the track plan.  What I wanted then and what I want now are very different.  When I planned the layout featured in Model Railroader I thought that maximizing operations meant better operating sessions.  To maximize operations on my layout I had to focus on the trackage around the major operating areas, the tipples and the yard.  Basically what I have is three switching areas that are connected by hidden track.  The track between the three switching areas in made as long as possible so you don't have your locomotive in one switching area while your caboose is leaving the previous.  Yes I would have liked to have a long exposed run with bridges and tunnels but that was the stuff I had to give up to have maximum operations. If I had space I would have made the aisles much wider than I have them, they are very narrow but we operate with only three people on the average and we get it to work out. If the room was two feet wider I would have built the same railroad with another foot of aisle at Roda and another foot at Derby.

Because I run steam locomotives I needed a way to turn the locomotives for the return trip back to Appalachia from Roda. Originally I had a turntable at Roda, but to get more operation in I removed the turntable and build a small truck to rail coal loader in its place, it also gave me room for a freight house. I had a wye at Derby and decided that steam locomotives would always run boiler forward to Roda because of the steep grade to prevent boiler explosions. Trains coming back from Roda run tender first and then turn at Derby for the trip back to Appalachia. I have mile markers on along the branchline that are numbered in a way that show that "in theory" there is more miles between Appalachia to Derby than there is between Derby and Roda, so it would make sense that they would want to turn the locomotives at Derby for the "long" trip back to Appalachia. Turning Steam locomotives is also one more operation that added time and fun to the run.

My grades are steep buy they are not exactly 4% as MR measured. In MR defense they did ask me if the grades were 4% but I could not exactly measure them because of the hidden track goes over areas that are hard to measure their exact elevations. There is some trickery at Roda to allow the tipple tracks to go over the Helix track under it and keep the grade to a minimum. We run 12 car trains with one 2-8-0 and a caboose without needing a helper, and if you read about "putting on the brakes" you’ll know that my cars pull hard, I would say that one of my cars are almost equal to two free rolling cars. I have to use non free rolling cars to keep them from rolling out of the Roda tipple, which is on a grade to get the tail end tracks to clear the track going under them from Derby. When I first learned about the "brakes" trick from a local modeler I liked how nice and slow you could couple up to a single free standing freight car without having to either ram it at a higher speed or chase it down the track until it gave in and coupled. Besides, if one considers that our trains are compressed versions of the real thing that it would make sense that one freight car would equal a few actual freight cars, requiring short trains to really need helpers to get up a steep grade.

When I said "a smaller railroad was better" I meant that for me, with my given constraints of time and money it was better for me because it allowed me to meet my goal of a layout that looked finished, operated, simulated the operations I thought I wanted (more on that latter), and had a higher level of detail. I would not ever state that smaller model railroads are better than bigger one, it was just better for me.

The rumor is true that I am planning on tearing out this layout in a month. The decision was not a sudden one, I have been planning the end of this layout three years ago. I pushed ahead and finished the current layout to meet the goal of finishing a layout, I also wanted to get it published (a goal from my bucket list I had since I was a kid first starting model railroading). The narrow aisles that I once convinced myself were fine have grown old and I am tired of twisting and turning my way down the aisles to get at stuff stored under the layout. The space I allowed for my work bench is too small and working on stuff has become frustrating. I have also changed my ideas about operations, I don’t feel that the more tracks and sidings make the operating sessions better, and I sorely miss the open scenic running of trains through the mountains of Appalachia. At one time I thought that I wanted to host groups of people for operating sessions, but that has been replaced by just wanted a layout that is fun to run by myself or with one other person. I still like operating with groups of other people but where I live there are plenty of layouts close that I can participate in operating sessions at and not have to deal with all the work of scheduling people and setting up the layout. Once you start hosting operations sessions there is a lot of maintenance work to the layout between sessions that takes away from progressing on building new models or areas of the layout. Some people are fine with doing lots of maintenance work and enjoy planning operating sessions, but I found over the years that I enjoy the model building part of model railroading a little more than the operations part of it. When I built the Derby section of the layout I stopped having operating sessions on the layout for 2 ½ years. My new layout will feature more detailed models (structures, rolling stock, and scenery) and I don’t care how long it takes me or have to worry about a pending operating session.

My current Roanoke and Southern is a blast to run, was fun to build, fun to take pictures on, and looks as good as I could do at the time, but my desires have changed and I want to build again and raise my bar higher, and I am excited to try and reach a new goal. It is going to kill me to take down something that I have worked so hard on, but I have been modeling the concept of the R&S for 23 years and now I want to close the book on it and do something different. I am switching to O scale narrow gauge, something that has been lurking in the back of my mind since I was young and has just surfaced in the last year as something I want to try. The new layout will have everything on it scratchbuilt (except a few locomotives, but they will be extensively reworked) and I want to try to do highly detailed scenery and track. My new layout will be just around the walls leaving the center of the room open, giving me a 6’ wide center by 15’ long where I can have a larger work bench.

I hope this cleared up some of the talk of my layout and why I did what I did, and said what I said.

 

here are some photos that were not in my MR article.

 

 Roda company store

Roda Tipple

a look down the aisle between Derby and Appalachia

Roda Coke ovens

the other end of Roda

looking back at the town of Derby, wye tail track

Derby stores

Coal truck to rail loader on Derby wye track and the lumber mill with lumber drying stacks

Derby wye tail track

A long shot of Derby

Jeff Kraker

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
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Posted by steinjr on Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:18 AM

 Hi Jeff --

 Interesting reading and great pictures - thanks for sharing this with the rest of us! 

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by Scarpia on Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:21 AM

 Jeff,

Thanks for your article, layout pictures, and continued explanation (although the latter wasn't needed, your thoughts are appreciated).

I fully understand how having achievable goals in this hobby arei important, and have begun to moderate my own desires accordingly.

Good luck on the new layout, I look forward to seeing some pictures of that down the road!

I'm trying to model 1956, not live in it.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:25 AM

Thanks for the information and the additional pictures.  I was looking at the article just the other night, and really enjoyed the photograpy.

My "resource limitation" is primarily time.  It took me 5 years to build my 5x12 foot HO layout.  I had wanted to build a bigger layout, but in retrospect, this was the right way to go.  I didn't get in too deep and get overwhelmed by a project that was not realistic in my time frame.  Now, I have a bit more space to work with, so I'm adding on to my layout in a controlled fashion.

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

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:52 AM

 Jeff,

thank you for sharing your views with us. It was a pleasure, reading your explanation  seeing  some more pictures of your great layout.

I am in 100% agreement with your statements - the size of a layout has nothing to do with the fun you get out of building and operating it - unless you bite off a chunk you can´t swallow. 

Hope to see and read more about your excellent and inspiring work!

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Posted by jwhitten on Thursday, April 15, 2010 11:16 AM

Your photos are gorgeous!

Simply incredible!

Each one is better than the one before.

I really like your Derby section.

 

John

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by russ_q4b on Thursday, April 15, 2010 11:26 AM

I really love the picture of the look down the aisle between Derby and Appalachia.   I can imagine walking down the aisle and feeling like I am at Appalachia.

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Posted by coaltrain on Thursday, April 15, 2010 11:37 AM

here are two more that show what it looks like to have people operating it in the tight aisles.

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
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Posted by coaltrain on Thursday, April 15, 2010 11:44 AM

and one more of just me at the end of the Derby / Appalachia aisle.

and one of me at the old Appalachia yard.  If you will notice I first had a Walthers coaling tower and the track arrangement was different, the actual layout was done about four years ago but there were some areas I wanted to redo, the engine terminal was one of them.  Also, MR made a mistake on the track plan, the track they labeled as "Roanoke Mainline" going behind my furnace is not the mainline to Roanoke, it is a long yard track that we use to build trains going to staging.  The track going to staging goes to Kingsport TN where there is a junction going east and west to Roanoke and Knoxville.  The 0-8-0 in the second picture is on the yard lead which MR showed as a mainline, the mainline is two the left of the 0-8-0, both the branchline from Roda and the mainline join just across the road at KR tower and goes between the yard and the engine terminal, making my yard a true stub terminal.  The track behind the furnace was an after thought, after a few operating sessions it seemed like adding the track would ease the congestion at the yard.

 

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
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Posted by coaltrain on Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:03 PM

here is a shot that shows the engine service area when I first built it.  When I first built it I though it looked a little plain.  Also, the turntable was the 1st gen Walthers turntable and it did not work well at all.  when Walthers came out with their ready built turntable I purchased one with the idea of just replaceing the turntable, that night I had most the engine terminal tore out with a plan to redo the track arrangement, I wanted the look of a busy and crowded engine terminal that was trying to fit in everything they needed in a space that was too small, plus show an expansion for a "new" diesel service track that looked pretty freshly installed.

before

after the remodel.

 some of the new structures included sand, house, oil tanks, fuel tanks, lots of power poles, ice house, oil house, cinder hoist, and blow down drains.

Blow down drains (CNW design)

Ice and oil house (Interstate RR design)

storage shed (Accurail box car)

Sand house (Walthers with scratchbuilt sand bin)

misc photos

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
gpa
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Posted by gpa on Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:55 PM
I like it. Nice layout, and congratulations on getting it in MR.
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Posted by wedudler on Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:55 PM

 Jeff, it's your railroad!

I've often built a new railroad when the operating sheme didn't satisfy me. Now I'm retired and looking at the money too. And at the time you need for building a layout!

Thank you for your great work and sharing with us.

Wolfgang

Pueblo & Salt Lake RR

Come to us http://www.westportterminal.de          my videos        my blog

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Posted by mopac57 on Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:23 PM

Jeff:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your message (and the story in MR) could not have come at a better time. I am in the exact same position: having to re-evaluate my time, space, and money available for a layout. I appreciate the "food for thought" you have given me.

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Posted by luvadj on Thursday, April 15, 2010 4:10 PM

 
Jeff;

Thanks for the additional posts and photos on your layout. I enjoyed them all, as well as the great article in MR. Just like you, I found that smaller is a fast track to a much more manageable project and faster enjoyment of the finished layout. The layout I'm working on on my patio has been a lot more enjoyable just because it's smaller.

Bob Berger, C.O.O. N-ovation & Northwestern R.R.        My patio layout....SEE IT HERE

There's no place like ~/ ;)

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, April 15, 2010 7:35 PM

Jeff,

Thanks for the update and the additional pictures.  Too bad to see it go.  I was hoping to see some of the bones of the layout incorporated into your new one, but it sounds like it will be new from the ground up.

You know, the thread you were referring to kind of got diverted into a debate over whether or not small layouts were better than large layouts, which, of course, was NEVER the topic of your article.  It was either misunderstood by some or a some comment by a poster was taken the wrong way by another.  The article was clearly referring to your specific situation.

- Douglas

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Posted by PASMITH on Thursday, April 15, 2010 8:55 PM
Doughless

Jeff,

Thanks for the update and the additional pictures.  Too bad to see it go.  I was hoping to see some of the bones of the layout incorporated into your new one, but it sounds like it will be new from the ground up.

You know, the thread you were referring to kind of got diverted into a debate over whether or not small layouts were better than large layouts, which, of course, was NEVER the topic of your article.  It was either misunderstood by some or a some comment by a poster was taken the wrong way by another.  The article was clearly referring to your specific situation.

Thank you for your further narrative Jeff. I am now convinced that you will soon join the list of some of the top modelers in our hobby and I am looking forward to following the progress of your new layout as much as I enjoyed following the progress of John Allen when I was a kid. What will be the theme of your narrow gauge RR?. Peter Smith, Memphis
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Posted by selector on Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:37 PM

Jeff, congratulations with the publication of your layout!  It is entirely worthy if I am allowed to be the judge.  I expect your next effort will have its own story in time, and I wish you the best of success as you define it.

-Crandell

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Posted by cudaken on Friday, April 16, 2010 7:39 AM

  Thanks for the picture as well!

      Cuda Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by coaltrain on Friday, April 16, 2010 7:41 AM

Peter;

while doing research for building the coke ovens at Roda I was loaded a book on the Mann's Creek Railroad, long story short, the Mann's Creek railroad was a 3' guage rr built to haul coal eight miles from a coal mine down Mann's Creek gorge to the C&O at Sewell, the coal was first converted to coke and in the later years they shipped both coke and sized coal.  I used the many photos from the book to help build my coke ovens, but the more I studied the book and read the stories in it the more interested I became in leaving the "mainline" modeling and became interested in modeling a true shortline backwoods mining railroad that served a specific industry.

 back in the early 80s' I built some HOn3 stuff but I was never really happy with it, so when I was considering doing narrow gauge again I decided I would do a bigger scale so I test built one of the Mann's creek hopper cars in O scale (narrow gauge) just to see if I would like it.  I really enjoyed the level of detail that is easy to reach in O scale and I enjoy that it is possible to use more scale sized materials and they are not as fragile and fussy as they are in HO.  I also like the "up close" and personal feel you get with O scale.

I purchased some of the Bachmann On30 stuff and I bought a brass On3 shay to see what I was getting involved with before I just up and tore out my layout.  What I found was the products in On30 really run well, they are also heavy and pull really well for their size.  When I was messing with HOn3 it seamed like the locomotive had a hard time just pulling their tenders around, much less a string of cars up steep twisting grades.  The Brass On3 shay was a bit of an indulgence, but I wanted to see what they were like, if it could be made to run like the On30 stuff and how it would handel tighter curves.  At the moment my thoughts are to keep the shay On3 and regauge the Bachmann stuff to On3.

My new O narrow gauge layout will be based off the Mann's Creek railroad but will again be fictional to allow me to pull some elements from some other narrow gauge railroads.  The Mann's Creek railroad operated with Shays and for a short time with some Climax locomotives, I will do the same put I also want to have a couple rod locomotives.  The Mann's Creek mostly hauled just coal hoppers and did not run any passenger cars and very little other freight (for a short time they hauled lumber), I want to have a little bit of general freight and I want to haul a combine once a day.  The location of my new railroad with but just upstream of the Mann's Creek railroad at a location called Thayer on the C&O, which is where the Slater Creek joins the New River, so my railroad will be called the Slater Creek Railway.

here are the coke ovens I modeled in HO scale

 here is a Climax I built in O scale, it is a modified Bachmann On30 that may get regauged to On3

and a On30 2-6-0

and some O narrow gauge freight cars

 

Jeff

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, April 16, 2010 8:11 AM

Jeff,

Like all of the others have already said, it was a thrill to hear from you first hand, to read so much from you on your thought process, and a great explanation of the timetable that you adhered to in building your current layout.

Your layout is magnificient and, of course, you are one of those guys that the rest of us love to hate because of the skill and beauty put into your railroad.  I love my layout, a 22'x42' sceniced double mainline, but I wince at the unlikely possibility of having my layout featured in MRR.  I simply have a long way to go to achieve the quality level that you have accomplished.

I do plead guilty to being one of those who questioned how you could spend years working on your layout only to have a train run just a few feet.  From the moment I saw the cover page of the current issue and saw that statement, I winced.  I stand by that reaction but that is, in no way, a criticism of your layout or your methodology of getting to the point that you are at today.  It's just that the thought of spending years working on the layout without the pleasure of at least running an engine or train more than a few feet boggled my mind.  On the other hand, a great artist does not have the pleasure of sitting back and viewing his painting until after he has finished one.  Undoubtedly, the pleasure is in the work in progress.

I hope, now that you have joined the forum, that you will stick around and share with us a lot more.  As they say, welcome aboard!

Rich

 

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by graftonterminalrr on Friday, April 16, 2010 9:03 AM

Jeff,

As one whose interests in model railroading primarily lie in modeling locomotives, let me tell you what a terrific job you did on that 2-8-0 with the Mantua 0-4-0 boiler. It's inspired me to do a similar detailing job on a Mantua 2-6-2. (If you ever want to sell it let me know Smile but seriously, great job.) 

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Posted by coaltrain on Friday, April 16, 2010 9:28 AM

Thanks, that was (and still is) my favorite locomotive and even after I sell everything off that is one that will stay with me.  Here is #25 in action on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwm0Xc9uIWs

Jeff

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
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Posted by coaltrain on Friday, April 16, 2010 9:36 AM

Like everything, it is all about the money, of which I had none, and it is very hard to build much with no money.  Model railroading can be an expensive hobby, my first layout was way out of my budget, which is why it never got very far.

 

Jeff

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
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Posted by ccaranna on Friday, April 16, 2010 9:53 AM
If the consensus determines that this is considered to be a "small" layout, then I am officially quitting the hobby as of this date.

Seriously.
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Posted by coaltrain on Friday, April 16, 2010 9:59 AM

I don't think anyone would consider my layout small, but it is "smaller" than my 20'x40' layout.  Interesting note, it would be hard to fit a 4' x 8' layout in the same space my layout is in if you wanted to have it away from the walls on all sides, it could be done but the side aisles will be tight.  One other thing that is not shown in the MR ariticle is that my layout room is not in a full basement room, it is in a room on the lower floor of my split level house, so the walls under the layout are not 9'-3" wide they are only 8'-6" which is why my layout required a step up at Roda.  to get my layout the widest possible I had to build it above the cinder block wall ledge, as the grades climbed it put Roda at a very uncomfortable height to switch cars at, so I build the platform to raise the floor up.

 

Jeff

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
  • Member since
    April 2007
  • From: Fenton, MI
  • 289 posts
Posted by odave on Friday, April 16, 2010 10:17 AM

coaltrain
  After five years I only had the staging yard done, the helix built, and the visible tracks into the main yard which was located just as you exited the staging yard. 

This is preciesly the reason I eliminated my 12 track staging lower deck.  I sat down and realized that given my small budget and severely restricted available time,  it was going to be years before I would be able to get to the fun stuff.  Some folks might be aghast that I eliminated any staging at all, but the simple fact is that all of that staging might end up serving nothing if I abandoned the hobby due to a deficit of fun.  So I simplified my layout's construction and changed its focus a bit (more switching with minimal staging on hidden end-curves), and found myself much happier for doing it.

Thanks for the article, followup post, and the proof that someone with severe time & money restrictions can still do great stuff Smile

--O'Dave
  • Member since
    June 2006
  • From: Baltimore, MD
  • 1,726 posts
Posted by CSX_road_slug on Friday, April 16, 2010 10:41 AM

coaltrain

...  Here is #25 in action on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwm0Xc9uIWs

...

Your layout looks familiar: Did you once post a YouTube video of a SoundTraxx-equipped F7+Geep consist pulling a coal drag up-grade?  That impressed me so much, that it convinced me to invest in that type of sound decoders myself.

I don't subscribe to MR, but now I guess I'll go and buy myself a copy of this issue to see the article!

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

  • Member since
    April 2010
  • 23 posts
Posted by coaltrain on Friday, April 16, 2010 10:46 AM

Yes, that was me.  I still have some Youtube videos of the layout.  I would like to try some HD movies of the layout but I have not found anyone near me that has an HD video camera.

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/
  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Carmichael, CA
  • 8,055 posts
Posted by twhite on Friday, April 16, 2010 10:48 AM

Jeff:

I really enjoyed the layout coverage in MR, and certainly like the additional photos.  Your modeling is just superb IMO. Bow 

One question:  That very handsome C&O-style 2-8-2 that figures prominently in some of the photos--is that a kit-bash or a brass import?   I've always thought that those 2-8-2's are among the handsomest ever built. 

Again--really FINE work!

Tom Big Smile

  • Member since
    April 2010
  • 23 posts
Posted by coaltrain on Friday, April 16, 2010 10:52 AM

thanks Tom

The 2-8-2 is a Broadway Limited heavy 2-8-2 with Cal Scale detail parts added, here is a link I did on Railroad line for the build.  I removed the QSI sound system and installed a Tsunami decoder in its place.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=18956

Jeff

photos http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k304/70NovaSS/RandS/

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