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Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Matt Probst, Aug 17, 2002.

  1. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Hi all! The endless days of 100 degree heat has driven me to the railroad room many times this summer. Though not much work has been done on the layout, I've managed to build 8 new structures. While running a few trains one day, I came to the conclusion that a massive change was needed once again. Many reasons led me to this conclusion...
    1.) The time period I'm modeling (1944) was limiting me in motive power and rolling stock.
    2.) There is no way to turn trains without the "sky-hook" method.
    3.) There is an annoying duck under.
    4.) The track work is not 100% bulletproof.
    5.) Operating possibilities are limited.
    6.) Difficult to access the breaker box. (This led to an evening during a power outage while I was at work, when my wife had to crawl thru a maze of 2x4 legs, flashlight in hand, to check the breakers...and we all know how important it is to keep upper-management happy!:rolleyes: )
    Thank goodness not much in the scenery department has been done. Just wiring, fascia, tracklaying, and some backdrop painting have been "completed".
    I've decided to undo the wires and take up the track,(No ballasting done yet), re-arrange the bench work and backdrop and develop a new track plan.
    The idea at the moment is to move my time period to 1950 and model the New York Central from the East Buffalo yards to Batavia, New York. I'de like to include a passenger run as well as freight, though I have not settled on all of the industries this line would service, though the Iriquois Brewery in Buffalo and the Wizard Plow works in Batavia would be two of them. East Buffalo would also open up the possibility of some shared trackage with three other roads. The Erie, Lehigh-Valley, and The Pennsylavania RR. I'm open to any ideas any of you might have for such a plan and invite you to take a look at the plan of the moment, (If I can get it posted here clearly enough). I drew the plan "freehand" style and hope it would workout OK. The East Buffalo yard is not exactly prototypical, but I'm working on that. I'm also thinking of some hidden staging under Batavia.
    It looks like it's going to be a fun autumn and winter!

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  2. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    The plan I hope!

    Hope this OK

    Attached Files:

  3. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Matt, looks pretty nice! Alot of operating and you still can get some nice scenery.:eek:
  4. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Thanks Andy,
    In the next few days, I'm going to try to tweak the plan a bit, include the grades, and try to make the image a little clearer and bigger. I'de like to get some scenery ideas from anyone who has been to that region of New York State. It's a challenge to model an area I've never been to. Trying to find pictures on the web is getting fairly time consuming with mediocre results.
    According to a map I was looking at, Batavia is located at the mouth of the Tonawanda River and I'de like to include a portion of that (if feasible).
  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Good ol' NYC. Hey, what the heck's a Wizard Plow Works ???
  6. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Matt, If theres nothing in the top left hand corner of the room you can get another 2' by 4' leg up there!:eek:
  7. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Mike- According to some research I was doing, the Wizard Plow Works was a family owned, agricultural tool company that was the oldest industry in Batavia... Started in 1915, sold in 1946, and bankrupt by 1954... It would fit into my time period and the name seemed "cool"!!:cool: :D . I'm trying to find old photos of the industry for scratch building or bashing purposes but am not having much luck yet. While doing research, the company's name just leaped out at me and said; "MODEL ME!!!"

    Andy- That's a good idea, as I will have some extra bench work left from my current stuff.. I'll think on that

    By the way, my wife loves the name of your RR...She said to tell you that you couldn't have picked a prettier or better name...(yeah, her name is Heather....;) :D

    Matt--- from Chocolatetown for sale
  8. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Tell her thanks Matt, Its my oldest daughters name. RI Mike has a layout with the same name!!!!Same Idea, 1000 miles apart:eek: Thats another problem I have whenever I see a layout I look to see where I could cram in a little more track and scenery!:D
  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    LOL must be a popular name in model railroad families ????

    PS - the Heather Valley railroad is no more. I've decided to be considerably more prototypical, so it was eliminated in the most recent research round. However, she does have an industry named after her - originally, it was gonna be Heather Bleach, cause she makes me doing cleaning all the time. But she wasn't overly thrilled with that, and I have another friend who is just a total clean freak, so it's now Belyk Bleach (more alliterative too), and my wife is now the propreitor of "Heather Leather Shoes". She's a big shoe fanatic, so she's significantly more pleased with that (HLS won't be modeled until Phase II, as it is located in sunny Denver).
  10. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Mike, Thats to bad, I was hoping for some track linkage up into Canada. Oh well maybe latter!:eek:
  11. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member


    Hi again folks! I'm still armchair modeling this week in devising my new track plan and I thought I'de invite the many talents that reside here to look at and offer alternatives to my ideas. If anyone wants to take a crack at this, here's the criteria:
    1.- HO Scale
    2.- the bench work is constructed into open grid type modules and can be re-arranged in any fashion .
    3.- I don't want to have any duckunders or liftouts.
    4.) I need access to the breaker box located on the North wall.
    5.) I can't venture the bench work into non-railroad property.
    6.) That ridiculous permanent shelving thing in the South West corner can't be moved. (It's81/2 x 2 x 21/2)
    7.) I'de prefer some staging area without a helix down!
    8.) Keep in mind that the turnouts are # 4 but will be replaced to # 6s as $ allows. The track is commercial code 83 flex and I have a 30 degree crossing that could be used.
    9.) I'm not 100% prototypical in my approach but want a very good "general" representation of the NYC line from Buffalo to Batavia circa 1950. (A distance of 30 miles, scaled down!)
    10.) I'll be using old fashioned dual cab control with blocks and Atlas components. Turnouts will be all hand thrown if possible.
    11.) I do not possess a turntable or round house yet, so whatever you come up with will be taken into consideration when I go to buy or build.
    12.) The engine facilities need to service steam (water,coal, sand, ashpit, inspection pit) and diesel fuel.

    I'm very excited about the possibilities here and look forward to seeing what you talented folks can come up with. I know you're all busy on your own layouts and don't expect you to construct mine also! I just want to see different approaches and incorporate the best into the final track plan. Credit will be given as much as I can!
    Thank You in advance,
    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
    By the way, the grids on the attached scan are 4 grid blocks equal 1 square foot.

    Attached Files:

  12. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Well, guys, tomorrow is the day...All morning will be spent un-doing wires, back drop and general re-organization... This will continue until Sept. 6th, in-between work of course, then I'll be off to the Delmarva peninsula until Sept. 14th for vacation..
    Once I get back, it will be off to the lumber yard for plywood and hopefully by then, the new track plan will be completed and ready to be put in place! Wish me LUCK please!!!!!

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  13. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Matt, Do yourself a favor and keep those #4 for industrial sidings, get the #6's for the mainline right up front. I wouldn't want to lay down mainline trackage then pull it up to replace turnouts which will require realignment of the tracks. If $ aren't available, try building the switching or yard area first with the #4, finish the main later. Enjoy your vacation!

  14. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Advice well taken Gary! I'll most certainly do that... $ certainly is a priority while working on my layout.
    I was financially irresponsible in my 20s and I'm suffering from that to this day!! If I hadn't made such ridiculous mistakes in my youth, I would own my own basement with a house over it, have the best quality MRR equipment, knuckle couplers would be installed on everything, DCC would be installed and Atlas wiring components would be gone, etc. etc. etc. etc.
    Ah well, I try to have fun with what I have, keep trying to improve my skills and be prepared for that day to come with my dream layout at hand! (And it will sooner than later:) )

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  15. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Canadian Connection

    Any chance of including the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo? :D

    If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Why not line up the the benchwork to the same height as one of the shelves of the "ridiculous permanent shelving thing in the South West corner"? It looks large enough for a small staging area.

    If nothing else; the layout in front of the "ridiculous permanent shelving thing in the South West corner" could have scenery extend back to cover/hide part of the shelving thing.
  16. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Ron--The problem I have with that corner is the shelf thing is 21/2 ft. high on the "south" end and due to a funny end piece on the "north" end it's 31/2 ft. high. If I try to extend scenery over top of it, I still have the problem of two thin water pipes extending up thru it into the ceiling. The only thing I can think of is try to arrange the backdrop in that area to "hide" the pipes and still not have too sharp of an angle on the backdrop itself.


    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  17. NYCentral

    NYCentral Member


    Any info you want on the area, just ask, I can also get you some overhead photo's. I grew up 40 miles south of Buffalo and know the area pretty well. Also my Father and Sister both still live in the area. In fact I was just there over the Labor day weekend and drove through Batavia.

    Attached is a copy of what I can get in the line of photo's

    Attached Files:

  18. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Industry (or when life hands you lemons, make lemonade... )

    You could always put in a large chemical undustry like DOW or Union Carbide.

    The waterpipes could be disguised as large storage tanks. The high end of the shelf could be boxed in with some large kitbashed buildings from Walthers Cornerstone series or Bachmann's Spectrum City Scenes. :D
  19. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    That darn shelf thingy...

    D'oh! :D You've been trying to work around that darn shelf thingy instead of over it.

    I automatically assumed that it was from floor to ceiling. If it is only 3 1/2 ft tall then it becomes a non issue.

    Most people are used to having tables and desks at about 30 inches high to work at while sitting. Workbenches and countertops at about 30 inches high too. In my Canadian Home Workshop Magazine it suggests that a work surface be the height of where your wrist is when your arm is relaxed at your side while standing. For an average person between 5' 10" to 6' 2" this puts the height closer to 36 inches. This is easier on your back because it cuts down on stooping.

    For model railroading, the trend these days is to have the benchwork at chest height. That brings the height of the benchwork up to between 4 and 5 ft. A comfortable height for me is about 54" (4 1/2 ft.) This is to allow the modeller to view the trains at a more realistic angle. Instead of looking down chimneys you get a good view of the brake rigging and valve gear on your trains.

    This puts your benchwork over top of the shelf.

    It also makes duck-unders more comfortable. I saw a picture in the Model Railroader Magazine of a guy who had stratigically placed an old office chair at his duck-under. That way, he could sit on the chair and roll under the layout and then stand back up. No Stooping or crawling.

    It makes easier access to the underside of the layout for wiring.

    Lots of storage space under the layout.

    Paint the walls under the layout black or cover with curtains to keep it from distracting the viewer.

    Get a drafting stool. It is like a regular office chair on casters, but it is much taller with a foot rest built in. A bar stool would work too. That way you can sit while working on the higher layout.

    Since I work at a Library, I was able to get an old kick stool to use when I need to reach over the layout while working on it.

    I hope this helps...... :)
  20. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Hi Phil! Thanks for your thoughts... I'm glad you're near an area I'm trying to model...(I may BUG you often when it comes to scenery time).. I was wondering if you had any pics or can obtain any pics of the now defunct Iriquois Beer brewery in Buffalo? I'de like to scratchbuild that if I can't find a commercial kit that comes close.

    Hi Ron! Thanks for your input as well. Regarding those darn water pipes; they are very thin and could never be believably "disguised". They run from the meter near floor level, straight up directly through that "ridiculous shelf thing" and disappear into the ceiling. Hell, if I owned this house, they would have been moved a long time ago and the shelf turned into campfire fodder. But since I don't, all must stay as is.:mad:

    I thought about my bench work going over top as you suggested, but that would then require the pipes to run up thru my scenery!

    Matt--in... sick of the smell of Chocolatetown, USA
    (Yes, it permeates the air!!;)

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