Current Modeling

Current Modeling Efforts

December 17 2017

Using advice from some of the folks on Model Railroad Hobbyist's forums, I've updated the Casper and Laurel yards pretty extensively over the last few weeks. Click here for the specific thread.

Here's the new version of Laurel, rotated 90 degrees clockwise:

And here's the Casper yard:

December 2 2017

I've been really busy developing a trackplan for the new space. I went through a few different benchwork configurations and finally came up with what you see here.

Lower level:

While the yard at Laurel is more or less finalized, the one at Casper is just a placeholder at this point. It will be optimized over the next few weeks for longer classification tracks and ease of use.

Upper Level:

November 12 2017

So after a few days of reflection, I realize I'm not really happy with the plan I posted below. The mainline only has four passing sidings along its entire length, including the one in the division point yard in Casper. Probably not enough to make operations consistently interesting - not enough variability with train schedules.

Also, I really want the sugar factory in Worland, plus some industries from other towns to make the train consists more variable.

Also, the layout just didn't seem to be very efficient, in terms of getting sufficient railroading into the space. I've seen track plans using half the floor space that pack in twice the railroading, without looking like an explosion at a spaghetti factory.

So... I decided to start over with a new clean sheet design.

I took the existing plan and deleted everything except the room configuration. I added the breaker panel and gas meter (annoyingly situated on the far wall from the entry door - typical, right?), then added associated clearance areas to get to those spots.

THEN I started laying out benchwork. I already knew what my operating concept was, my minimum radius, and that sort of stuff. I just needed to configure the benchwork to support that.

So I came up with this:

November 8 2017

I've been busy!

I have the basic planning complete for my new layout in Merchantville, NJ. It's a two-deck plan, with the upper deck being relatively small (but long).

Here's the lower deck:

You can see that it's very similar to the past Cove Road layout, but Orin / Frannie has been moved to the lower deck, and there is no helix, Behemoth or otherwise!

Here's the upper deck:

Much reduced in scope from the prior layout. Only the Cody branch is on the upper deck now.

Now that I have basic plan designed, I'm going to sit on it for a week or two and see if it still seems okay afterwards. There will no doubt be some tweaks, but if it still seems good I'll figure I have a solid starting point for construction.

November 4, 2017

As of right now, I'm waiting for retirement early next year. 

It looks like we'll be moving back to my house in Merchantville, NJ, where the Cove Road layout was partially constructed before my move to South Carolina over seven years ago. How long we'll be there is up in the air right now, but for purposes of starting a new layout after retirement, I'm planning for it to be permanent.

There is no room at all for modeling in this tiny house in South Carolina, and updates to the house are taking a great deal of time. So what little time I have available is being spent on planning a new layout in the Cove Road basement. This will be the same footprint as the old layout.

I'm sticking with the basic approach I started many years ago, though I'll reduce the scope rather significantly, I think. I'm not going to have a four-track helix this time, and will most likely have only a single-deck layout, or at most a very abbreviated second deck.

Here's the beginnings - the Northern Pacific lines. Laurel is somewhat larger than it was on the old Cove Road layout, particularly the engine terminal area. The turntable has grown from 90' to 130' to handle the Challengers that ran on this part of the NP. There are also more stalls to the roundhouse, which itself is larger for the same reason as the turntable. While the number of yard tracks is the same as before, the're a few feet longer thanks to the elimination of the Behemoth Helix. I may try to fit in one or two more yard tracks when construction actually commences.

You can see that I've consolidated both ends of the line into a single staging yard. Building two was probably a bit of overkill, and ate up time and resources I could have better spent elsewhere. I may add an additional track or two to staging, space permitting, to be able to easily handle more trains.

Over the next few months I'll plan out the rest of the layout. Early up will be deciding which features in the CB&Q mainline to keep and which to discard (that won't be an easy job), and also try to figure out which connecting branches can go (Lusk is an early "favorite" for elimination). I'll post elements of the track plan here as I get them developed.

I'm also considering how best to finish the basement prior to railroad construction. I'm seriously considering lowering the floor about a foot to match the new basement floor depth. The lowest parts of the old basement ceiling are just low enough that my hair (what little of it there is left) just brushes the main beams when I walk under them. I'd like a bit more clearance than that. 

Also, the basement floor occasionally gets wet (every 3-4 years, based on past experience). If I install a good french drain and sump, that will be a problem of the past, based on experience with the new section of the basement.