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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thoughts on Model Railroading Part 2

Although the layout plan has been posted, this blurp will delve into the process it took to get there. When it came to a layout design for our club, many things had already been decided. The foot print of the layout was designed by Don Pearce, giving us wide aisles, an island branch line, and the ability to follow your train around the layout without having to jump from one side of a wall to another (see Don's Plan). We had also decided on a two percent grade, thirty inch radius curves, number six Atlas switches and ten foot plus passing sidings. The ability to turn full passenger trains at each end of the run was also high on the wish list. Some thought was given to modeling the line that use to run from Port Dover to Hickson, but most of the structures would have to be scratch built and it would limit the scope of the railroad eg. no logging branch or ore mine, both wanted inclusions. A double main line was another idea suggested by some members, hey great for running lots of trains. You still could add the second track to our layout with some modifications. If the main line was reconfigured so that every other town was either entirely on the right or left of the main line it could also be run as point to point with each track of the main being a single main line and only switch the sidings on that side, doubling the length of the main line. Put another way, starting at the lower loop a run would take you all the way to the upper loop which would now be the middle of the run and all the way back to the bottom loop. Well let's just say double the track, double the money, so that was dropped. So that is how we came to a folded over loop to loop design, with the loops on top of each other. There will be a staging yard off the bottom loop and a city above it coming off the upper loop (with it's big yard and multiple sidings it is realy just a different type of staging). The tables were built of 1 x 3 inch lumber in eight foot long sections, for the most part, and either 24 or 30 inches wide, with stringers every 16 inches. The lower run would be on the table top level and in the front, at the midway point the track turns back on itself and will climb along the back of the tables until it reaches the upper loop. This design allows trains to be run in a continuous loop or point to point. Now with no prototype railroad in mind, the first thing to do was to lay out all the thirty inch radius curves in all the corners. Then the towns were located and joined by a main line. Plywood was layed out and the rough track plan was drawn on it and then cut out cookie cutter fashion. The lower level was screwed to the benches and the upper level was supported on risers at every 16 inches. The plan was meant to be a concept, that is the exact placing of the track, switches and sidings, should be determined as the track is layed and buildings are positioned. It has been altered in a few locations already, for instance, we moved the upper loop over so that almost half the bottom loop was exposed, and because the coal branch took up so much space we had to run a passing siding around a corner to maintain the require ten feet. The upper loop's return to the main was lengthened, to help with a perceived bottleneck of passenger trains and trains entering the main line from the city. All in all the track plan looks good so, in the words of Larry the cable guy "let's getter done".

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