Experience with the Appalacian Central

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Agatheron, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Hey All,

    I recently acquired Kalmbach Books MR Series "Project Railroads you can Build" which includes the N-Scale Appalacian Central series by Lionel Strang. I showed it (benchwork to final) to my wife, and actually got a favourable response... I could do this as my first layout! Does anybody have any thoughts or critiques about this particular layout? Once I return home I'll be pulling out RTS or whatever other trackplanning software I can get me hands on and trying to replicate the design so I can do some tweaking.

    One of my concerns is the use of 11" and 9 3/4" curves that are present on the branch line of the upper "deck" of the layout. It's originally for coal hauling, so not much of a concern with the original design... Is this something to be overly paranoid about, or should I use it as a base design and do a variant on it? Widen the curves or the like. As far as Scenery is concerned, the Niagara Escarpment in Southern ontario can easily stand in for some Appalacian-looking stuff... just the industry is different... no coal :)

  2. Bama Red

    Bama Red New Member

    Agatheron - I'm not familiar with the trackplan for the Appalachian Central. Do you have a link to a plan or an RTS file you can post?
  3. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    That would be my concern too, I would probably stretch it a bit, so instead of being a 7 x 7 L shaped, make it a 10 x 10 if you have the space and make those curves wider.

    Personally I find the next layout in the book "The Arkansas & Missouri" trackplan more interessant. (I know it's a 9 x16 trackplan, and not the 7x7 as the other one).

    Guess I was not much help uh!.
  4. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I've looked on google, and the only online trackplans based on the Appalachian Central have varied it too much to cross post to do the original any justice. If you're in a model RR shop, nab the Project Railroads you can Build off the shelf and have a quick look at it. What you need to know: 5'7"x7" L-Shaped layout. There is two-level staging area along the 5'7" part of the "L". Scenic dividers in a T-shape set up two distinctive scenes, but the elevation change in essence adds a third.

    It's based on West Virginia Appalachian Scenery with lots of forest-covered mountains.

    While I could try to replicate the layout in Atlas RTS, Strang's version uses Peco medium turnouts, but several of them are the curved variety.

    Chances are if I do this, I'd want to widen out the smaller curves to 11"... and broaden out the 11" to give a different entry into the yard. However, in the context of the trackplan, they are intended as branchline, and not for mainline locomotive use. Hence why the 9 3/4" turns are probably used...


    I realize the Arkansas-Missouri plan is perhaps more interesting, but I don't have 9'x16' walkaround room to play with :)
  5. Bama Red

    Bama Red New Member

    I agree - stretching the curves up one size would probably be a good idea. You haven't said what you will be using as motive power on these curves or if you will be running long passenger cars. If you are running generation I or II diesels and 40'-50' cars, you will not have any problems at all.
  6. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    Agatheron, I see you are still struggling with a track plan like I am. ;) I am not familiar with that plan, but if I were to do it I would do whatever possible to broaden those curves. Even if your equipment can handle it, the long cars you plan to run won't look good on curves that tight.

    If you happen across the track plan somewhere on the internet post a picture of it. :)
  7. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    one of my favorites.

    I have often planned on doing that layout. The Model railroader magazine that features how to operate it is a must. Do you have it? I like it, except for the 1 sharp curve, and the unscenicked staging. Someone did it and had a webpage but I can't find it again. He made more of a western feel to it and ran 1 track off to another layout insted of upper staging. I would like to see your progress. please keep us posted, and if I find that link I'll let you know.
  8. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

  9. Bama Red

    Bama Red New Member

    Agatheron, that should make you a real nice layout and if you do stretch those curves, I don't think you'll have any problems.
    Now that've had a chance to see the trackplan, I remember seeing that issue of MR.

    BTW, those French fellows have done some really nice work on those layouts.:thumb:
  10. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    I followed the link but didn't see any Appalacian Central. :confused:
  11. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    So did I... You need to do some digging and find the track plan to the Devil's Creek Company. which is a modification of the original Appalachian Central.

    The differences are with what appears at the top of the plan. In the original AC, the divider is brought forward a bit, and the two tracks on the top serve as behind the divider staging yards. The upmost one at the elevation of the bulk of the layout, and the inner one about 1.5"-2.5" above it. Also, the track that leads up to the second level is entirely hidden in a tunnel on the left side of the scenic divider.

    Here's the pic:

    As you can see there are some pretty tight turns in there...

    More thoughts?
  12. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Its a nice trackplan and certainly has some great operating potential.I agree those curves would seriously concern me for any modern heavy mainline traffic.For an oldtime steam layout with perhaps connies it would probobly be fine.How deep is the section on the left?
    Consider this, in attempting to get a larger radius you will be pulling that track as far to the outside edge as possible without infringment on the yard. everything behind that track to the divider will be scenery.In otherwords,no track maintenance or turnout switching to deal with at a distance. widening that section to perhaps even 36" would not be out of the question.Especially if you built up a ridge along the backdrop and brought the scenery forward from it an additional 6-8".Do you follow me??
    You may be able to hit 14-15" radiuses this way at both ends.
    This would be enough for anything but the largest passenger equipment and even it would do it,it just might not look good doing so.(takes a big sweeping curve to make a streamliner look right.)
  13. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Perhaps you can open up the curves some. The curves at the bottom could be further widened by running hte mainline on the outside curve on the oither side of the yards (move to the left of the yards).

    Attached Files:

  14. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Thanks for the feedback! Very helpful!

    I haven't had the time yet, but I am going to see what I can do with RTS. The trouble is, the actual Appalachian Central uses Peco turnouts, which include the curved turnouts... which atlas does not make...

    Maybe I can download cadrail or 3rdplanit... :)
  15. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Ah,Atlas does not make a curved turnout yes.But that doesnt mean you cant make a curved turnout out of an atlas #8 switch.Can do,have done and works very well.Think of a piece of flextrack,look at how it is made.look at your turnout.trim some plastic out to make it look like the flextrack.there ya go_One atlas curved turnout :)
  16. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Having personally seen the Peco turnouts in action, my vote is going with them rather than the atlas... The spring-held action works very well for manual operation, that can easily be upgraded to turn machines at a later date... Whereas with the Atlas ones, you need to go to switch machines right off the bat...
  17. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Yes,and at 16.95 for a tortoise that gets spendy quick.
    However,there is a new kid on the block.Slow Motion machine,100,000 operations for dependability and 9.95 each.Capatalism is alive and well.:)
    Its in the new MR!!
  18. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Just to make sure this is the Aspenmodel Switch Machine MWA-02-S on page 113?

    Very cool :thumb:
  19. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    For operating turnouts, I like Caboose industries ground throws. If you don't want to put an out of scale ground throw on the layout, put it on a small shelf in front and operate remotely with an automotive choke cable.
  20. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    Getting back to the original concept design of the Appalachian Central... I may indeed run with this, although I am going to rethink my intentions for what I am going to model.

    I am still going to do Canadian National, but instead of trying to model Southern Ontario, I may try to do something that is more in the interior of British Columbia and possibly into the Lower Mainland (Lower Rainland anybody?).

    The primary reason has to do with the amount of space I don't have, and the length of cars that I might need. Southern Ontario has a LOT of autoracks, serving auto industries and are regularly switched in and out of trains... On a small layout that requires tighter than normal turns, Autoracks are simply not viable... Whereas with a west coast approach, I can run shorter cars to all kinds of industries that also run up and down grades amidst mountain scenery...

    Plus my wife was born in Vancouver... and I did my Masters out there, so it works :)


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