Canyon model

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by LoudMusic, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    I've seen lots of train layouts where a set of tracks crosses a canyon on some elaborate and beautiful bridge (we've had a few examples lately of impressives setups) which is marvelous and I think any layout with space for it needs such a scene. However, that's not what this thread is about ;)

    I'm wondering if anyone has made or seen a layout that has a set of tracks following a canyon cut by a river? I've seen plenty of cliff faces and things like that, but I don't really get the 'canyon' feel with only one cliff wall and the tracks near the edge of the layout. So I've come up with this:








    I don't know that these images really depict what I'm imagining well enough or not, or maybe what I'm thinking of just isn't that great of an idea, but I think I'd like to see it in person. It seems very true to prototype to me. Trains often follow water due to the leveling effect water has on the ground, and so forth. I also like that there is a visual obstruction on the front side of the layout, causing the train to hide and reveal itself as it's rolling along. Very realistic model railfanning.

    I think in my example I the back cliff face needs to be higher, amongst other details, but hopefully it gets my point across.

    Does anyone have pictures of a real world example of such a modelling technique? I don't know that I've seen any myself. This 3D version I've made is obviously a "module-esque" design (actually on 2x4 base) because I was too lazy to do any more than that :)
  2. zedob

    zedob Member

    What you have there looks pretty good to me. I suggest snaking the river back and forth under the ROW.

    I know exactly what you are talking about because I thought of doing the same thing to model a bit of Phantom Canyon on the Flourence and Cripple Creek RR, when I was modeling that RR, and have thought about using it on my new layout, but it's not going to happen.


    Try it. I can't recall anyone doing it before, but I haven't been searching the mags or internet heavily either. Someone may have done it before. If not, you have my blessing:D :thumb:
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    This was taken on the HO layout of the San Diego Model Railroad museum. The picture is a little fuzzy but you should be able to see something useful.

    Attached Files:

  4. JAyers

    JAyers Member

    Do you alread have a layout? If not (or maybe if you do) why not actually make that module? Get some wood and/or foam, come screen and some hydrocal, and a piece or two of flex track. Would make really good practice, AND, heck if you like what you see, just keep it going around the room.

    I have pictures of the prototype, but you may want to check Harold Minky's site for some good scenicking along cuts and little canyons.
  5. zedob

    zedob Member

    Yeah, I like that.
  6. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Yeah, looks to me like the Feather River Canyon along the Western Pacific. We plan to feature the canyon on the WP RR Museum's new layout in Portola once our baggage car arrives from the UP to build it in. (The ultimate portable layout) :D
  7. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    zedob's picture is really cool - the train bridges over the creek really make it good.

    TrainNut's picture brings up the second part of this idea that I think is very important - being able to see down the length of the canyon and watch the train snake through the winding rock faces.

    I like it I like it!

    Unfortunately I don't currently have a layout, but that also means I shouldn't have trouble finding a way to incorporate it into my next one :)

    Thanks for the photos, guys, that's pretty much what I was looking for. Real world and layout examples.
  8. KCS

    KCS Member

    UP baggage car you say? It's well worth it if the car is in good condition. Our club has an 80' heavy weight IC dinning car that was put on a piece of track and turned into our club house. It's nothing but trains inside. The car has under gone A LOT of repair work over the last ten year's but look's great now. Still has the rest room in one end of the car with all new plumbing and you name it. I'll have to get some picture's next time I'm out there.
  9. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Has anyone ever put a layout in a school bus? Even more mobile than a train car :)
  10. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    YES, please do! I sure would appreciate it. Yeah, we plan to use one of the UP 89' six axle baggage cars that was previously in MOW service. The plan is to paint it silver with large orange window band and "FEATHER RIVER RAIL SOCIETY" along the top to match our other bag car & our lounge car, but with a mural of the canyon painted along the sides near the bottom of the Feather River Canyon. The layout has to be built strong and be able to flex (foam scenery covered with a latex based spackle) and incorporate many expansion joints in the track to allow for expansion and contraction. The car will also need to be carpeted and air conditioned for visitor comfort. We go out to Dunsmuir once a year, at times to Truckee and to Sacramento for various railroad shows with some of our WP equipment, so this car would be in transit to or three times a year. We'd handle it right behind the power to maximize care in handling, but still, the layout will have to be able to handle the shock of being moved by rail. We have so much going on at the museum right now, that it'll be a year at least before we can start any benchwork, and the car is still in Cheyenne, and won't be moved out here until we get some more track laid.




    Anyone looking to learn to hand lay some REALLY large scale track from some pro's is encouraged to visit the WPRM in Portola. Contact me for details. sign1
  11. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    A friend of mine built a small N Scale layout in an old GMC stainless city coach that he converted to a motorhome, but nobody I know of has filled a bus with one.
  12. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    This thread is so off track it's in a different gauge. But I like it!

    Really cool clubs, guys. Really cool. I wish we had something like that around here (or if we do I wish someone would tell me about it!).

    Anyone else with pictures of layouts with tracks in canyons.
  13. Illus

    Illus Member

    Sorry, no pics, but I thought I would put in my .02 anyways. The 3D version you did looks real good, I think it's a great idea. I have the same situation as a few others. I am starting my benchwork, so now I want to figure out how I can fit something like that into it...
  14. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I have done something similar to your 3D modeling. I needed to separate a 1930's logging scene from the three track main on our club layout so I built a ridge between the two, along with a creek in the gulley. I'll take some pictures and try to get them scanned to the computer. (No digital camera) and a very limited capacity on my hard drive. Your virtual modeling modeling looks great. I like the suggestion above about building what you are showing as a diorama.
  15. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Having the track in the canyon and looking over the canyon edge to see it can be a great idea in theory, and certainly is something different.

    There are 2 cautions I can see to look out for.

    The first is sight lines. You might want to mock things up full size with cardboard and the like to ensure you get the sight lines you want. Elevations of various objects and layout height may need be adjusted to achieve the desired view. I would hate to build detailed scenery that later could not be seen.

    The second caution is access. You are now reaching across the front canyon lip and down into the canyon to construct and maintain track and scenery. Again, your mockup is key to ensuring the desired result can be accessed with the degree of ease that suits you. Because these issues are quite difficult to measure and determine the result prior to construction, I strongly recommend some kind of full-size trial to make sure everything suits your before committing a lot of time and $$.

    There is a reason most model railroads progress up as you move back from the aisle - it naturally avoids most of these issues. I do encourage you to make the attempt - it will likely result in a beautiful and unique model scene. Just be prepared to make adjustments to the plan as you build based on sight lines and access issues.

    your in training
  16. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    All of this, excellent. And I definitely plan to mock it up before shelling out for the final approach.

    This is an interesting point. I can humbly honestly say that I've finally reached the point in my life where I realize that my initial designs may not be perfect. There was a time when if my initial concepts failed without modification I would scrap the entire project, in more than just modeling. But now I am open to adaptation and modification of my (otherwise brilliant ;) ) plans. I've already made changes to the ideas in the first post which I believe would greatly improve the success of it.

    I think I'll mock it with cardboard on a 2x4 'diorama' to get the dimensions hoaned in, then sceneryize it, then manipulate it into a layout. Another part of my eventual plan would be to have another set of tracks run along the ridge in the back, and that would require some fudging of the apparent widths in my 3D model.

    Thanks again for the suggestions! I think this idea is slowly growing into something that can be created with success.
  17. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Here's an example from Mr. Scenery himself, Dave Frary.

    The first picture came to mind when I saw and read what you described.

    Also, consider "Giant Canyon" on John Allen's G&D. Actually walking into the space to be in the canyon with the trains...that'd be cool.

    But I think Dave has hit on a compromise in the picture at the top of his photo page...seems like there's a gap in the canyon for viewing from an aisle.

    And if you really want to emphasize the location and its unique properties, go for sound embedded along the canyon walls, such as birds, wind, and of course, the roaring of the creek/river below. I think there are even some sound boxes out there with wheel and brake squeal effects...could be especially effective if these sounds were best heard from a location where the viewer must look down the canyon to hear them.

  18. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Ah, that first picture is spectacular. Do you have any references for Giant Canyon? I couldn't find anything in a few quick Google searches. Perhaps it's been in a book or two?
  19. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    There's a G&D Yahoo group...and this great reminiscence site that sortof grew out of the group and the fellow who lives in John's old house (where the ill-fated G&D remains sit forlornly in the basement).

  20. KCS

    KCS Member

    Not that I know of but I did happen to look at a Large scale mag that a guy used a 48' drop deck flat bed semi trailer(brand new) and built a layout out on the whole thing then the Western Star truck company thought it was a really neat thing he was doing so they loaned him a brand new Westernstar truck to move the layout down the street and park it in front of a church for a special event.

    CCT70, it'll be a while because I have no earthly idea when I'll be back on that side of town. That car your getting look's great and is still in great condition. Unlike your's our's is roughly 40-50 years old and had be removed from the rails many years ago. As far as I know the first off rail use was for the Boy scouts club house then some other thing's before we got it. I'll have to get pictures of when the car as moved too. As for building it to move. You got me there. One of our club member's helped build the O scale layout in a box car for the KCS christmas train that travel's as far north as Kansas City, Mo. around Miss., and LA. I'll have to check with them to see how they did it. Of course they have a locomotive that is assigned spacificly for the train. I'll get more details as soon as I can.

    Sorry for this thread getting waaaay off topic. However I like the idea of "hidding" the train for more realisum and wouldn't mind doing it myself but as your've seen it wouldn't work on a switching layout.

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