Notes on an old waybill

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Tyson Rayles, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Having read Gary Pfeil's excellent thread on why he is doing what he is doing with his layout, I've decided to document the process behind mine as well (wouldn't mind seeing a bunch of others do the same! :) ). While Gary's JGL depicts bigtime class 1 railroading, the railroad my model is based on represents a dead-end branch line of a class 1 carrier that was abandoned, then taken over by private owners. It's the type of railroad that has next to no equipment of it's own, and is run by less than a dozen people. The engineer and brakeman know just about everybody at every stop and eat lunch in the same diner everyday :D (matter fact the waitress is probably married to one of em'!). There is no unions (which will make Jon happy :D ), and the EPA, OSHA etc. don't exist which makes me happy! :D . If there appears to be any interest in this thread the next post will explain the realife R.R. that was the inspiration for my Nantahala Midland.
  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Ok Tyson, lets hear about it. Sounds fascinating, since you mentioned it, I have my cup of coffee all ready.;) Be sure to tell us all the gory details.

  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hey Tyson, I think its a great idea:) Part of my layout is prototype and part is mythical.... Y'all have already met some of the characters...the Robber Barron, Ezra P. Terrible, and etc. :D :D :D
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Thanks guys, I'll try to do another post tomorrow night. Vic while my R.R. is freelance the 3 R.R.'s it interchanges with are all (or were :( ) real. So like yours it is a mix. I think your layout Vic would be an excellent canidate for this sort of thing also. :)
  5. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Great! I'm interested, go for it! You too Vic.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Tyson, I'm looking forward to learning about your pike and the why and wherefors. And you're right, it would be nice if others did the same.

    Wishing you continuously improving health, Gary
  7. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    The "Murphy Branch"

    In looking for a prototype to base my model on I didn't have to look far. I wanted a reasonable amount of traffic, nice Smoky Mtn. scenery, 1st. generation diesel motive power and a laid back, off the beaten path type of atmosphere. I don't know why but the rural shortline and branchlines have always appealed to me over the mainlines. This is a good thing because I don't see me ever having enough space or money or time to do one of those type of layouts :D (however anybody who does have a layout of the type feel free to invite me over :p :D ). The Murphy Branch of the Southern was perfect! It ran from Asheville, N.C. to Murphy (duh) N.C. and connected with the L&N at Murphy, the Carolina & East Tenn. between Andrews, N.C. and Murphy, as well as the Graham County Railroad at Topton, N.C. Modeling the late 60's the C&ET was long gone :( , but all the other players were still in place. The Murphy Branch always existed because of wood in one form or another and to exchange loads with the L&N. Furniture factorys shipped out finished goods, but never received much by rail. Sawmills were turning logs into lumber and the huge Champion Paper Mill in Canton, N.C. was consuming tremendous amounts of pulpwood (Champion has it's own yard and switcher). Other traffic consisted of some consumer goods being shipped in, some textile products being shipped out, fuel oil being shipped in and marble, gravel and rock being shipped out. There was also several feed and seed dealers as well. At one time there were several pallet companys, 2 of which are still in business. This meant I would have a wide amount of rolling stock for variety as well as Alco's for the L&N and EMD's for the Southern, Graham Co. and my own Nantahala Midland (the former Murphy Branch). The exchange of traffic between the L&N and Southern never did amount to much and by the mid 70's the L&N was trying to make like a sheperd and get the flock outta there :D ! The Southern due mainly to the pulpwood traffic was doing good however which explains why the L&N was running older mismatched, clapped out equipment like a C-420 with a RS-3, while the Southern was running decent stuff like matched GP-35's. However the begining of the end came in the early 80's with the news from Champion Paper that they would no longer accept pulpwood only wood chips. The Southern could not get anyone to invest in a wood chip operation in the area and filed for abandonment in the mid 80's. By this time the L&N had already pulled out of Murphy and the Graham Co. R.R. had shut down, and started back up a couple of times. Next installment, the birth of the Great Smoky Mtn. Railway and why I rejected it as the basis for my Railroad! :)
  8. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    good stuff, Tyson. It is good to hear the thought behind a rail system. I guess I am going to have to develop a history for my "not-so-historically-accurate" railroad.:) :)
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I've always enjoyed reading & researching RR histories. I guess that's why I've always liked the idea of doing research, & using one or more prototypes as the basis, or inspiration for a free-lance RR. I guess this is a way for me to have the best of both worlds.
    And another great spin to put on this is the "what if" scenario, where you can take a RR from the past, that passed out of existence, for whatever reason, & bring it into the present (or any other era you like) give the RR a successful life in model form.
    I believe this is what you've set out to accomplish, Tyson, & you've dome a great job at capturing the look, the pace, & flavor of the old Murphy Branch. Best of all, though, you've given it an existance as a hard working short line, & not just a tourist RR.
  10. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    David as I get further into this you will find out my layout is not so historicaly accurate either! :D :rolleyes: :D Thanks Charlie but I did consider the tourist line bit at one time. :)
  11. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Birth of the Great Smoky Mtn. Railway

    When the Southern filed to abandon it was only for everything west of Sylva, N.C. or about half of the Murphy Branch. Some investors from out of state talked to the remaining shippers on the line about a joint venture hauling tourists thru the beautiful countryside to pay the bills and in exchange for the shippers investment a garuantee of continued rail service for their business. They then went to the state of N.C. and got them to buy the right of way from Southern and lease with a option to buy to the new railway. Out and back with tourists was of no interest to me and the time frame had removed the Graham Co R.R. from the picture as well. Spring flooding in the mid 80's took out all of (3, I think) the G.C.R.R.'s trestles (all wood) and finally put the railroad under for good. Since then the track between Murphy and Andrews has been pulled up as well. The original trackage between Bryson City and the Nantahala Gorge was relocated during the 40's with the creation of Lake Fontana to produce badly needed hydro-electric power. This major relocation got me to thinking how I could rewrite history to come up with a resonable way to explain the existense of my railroad.
    Having only 2 walls to work with in a small spare bedroom I knew I could only get a scale mile or so of mainline in. This meant alot of compression or omission, I chose omission by relocation. In my rewrite of history the Southern could see the creation of Lake Fontana and balked at laying any track anywhere near the area. A deal was reached with the L&N (already in Murphy) to leave the Nantahala River and instead cut thru the middle of the Nantahala Mtn. range taking advantage of a natural pass called Tellico Gap (does exist in real life). Tellico Gap then replaced Murphy in real life as the dead-end branchline for both the Southern and the L&N. Once at Tellico Gap the Southern extended a 9 mile branch over to Whiteoak to hook up with a pulpwood yard and feed and seed dealer. The G.C.R.R. tried to push into Whiteoak to hook-up with the Southern but ran out of $$$ at what became known as Otter Creek Juction. The Southern went ahead and laid track down to the jct. (about 2 miles, but required a steel bridge which the G.C.R.R. couldn't afford) and the connection was made. It is the Whiteoak Branch of the Southern that is abandoned and leads to the creation of my railroad. Because in my rewrite of history there are enough shippers and local investors no out of state money or hauling of tourists will be required. Basically the business owners ( not just shippers and receivers, but other business that depend on the railroad for profits like diners, stores etc.) came up with the money and the railroad is under no obiligation to show a profit, only not to go broke :D . Next picking a time and a name, deciding on space for benchwork, a false start and a teardown and some pro's and con's of using a real R.R. as a basis for a freelanced R.R.
  12. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Sounds great Tyson. Looking forward to the next chapter.
    :) :) :) :) :) :)
  13. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Been off since Fri., jest catchin' up... sounds great! Good to learn 'bout Otter Crick!
  14. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Picking a time and name was the only thing that came easy so far :D . I went with the late 60's so the Graham Co. R.R. was still a player, cabeese were still in use ( got to have my cabeese :) ) and 1st generation diesel was still the rule in these parts. I played around a little with the name.
    1- Tellico Gap & Whiteoak
    2- Western Carolina
    3- Carolina & Tellico Gap
    4- Carolina Western
    Didn't really care for any of em', then it hit me. The durn railroad was right in the middle of both the Nantahala forest and mtn. range! Duh, the Nantahala Midland was born :p .
    One doesn't have to use a real life R.R. as a basis for his model one of course. I did because I felt like the pro's out weighted the cons. In other words it would answer a lot of questions for me so the end result would be (I hope :rolleyes: ) a more realistic R.R.
    Once a real R.R., time and place on said R.R. was decided here is a few of those pro's and con's.
    1- Would know what R.R.'s would connect to mine and where
    2- Knew what motive power and rolling stock would be required for all R.R.'s (this can save a person a ton of $$$$$$)
    3- Knew what is shipped out and in
    4- knew what the terrain looks like
    5- Knew what kind and type of structures were required (this also can save a ton of $$$$$ )
    If I run across any I'll let you know :D

    I was going to go into the benchwork, my false start and teardown but it dawned on me I will have to draw up a few sketches to help explain that in my next post. For those that think Tyson is a rivet counter or takes the hobby to the point of it being a job keep in mind I'm the same IDIOT who's crew took a trip to the moon and whose layout was overrun with coyotes and roadrunners!
    :D :p :rolleyes: :D
  15. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Tyson!
    That's a good point you make on knowing ahead of time the function & look & style you want for your layout.
  16. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Tyson, I am enjoying the read. I really do wish others would do the same. Thanks.

  17. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Thanks Charlie, I'm not posting this as "THE" way of doing things of course, it's just the way I ended up going. It has saved me money, answered a lot of questions that if I had to guess at I probably would have screwed up :D . But what is working for me may not for someone else of course. I hope that when I'm finally done with this thread that there will be at least some things of use to some people :rolleyes: . If not at least the admission was free :D . Gary I'm glad you are enjoying this as I know I found your thread very interesting and like you I really do wish others will follow your lead also. I have also found out this isn't as easy as I first thought. Having to organize your thoughts in a coerent manner, come up with sketches or photos (still to do :eek: ) to help better explain, etc. Oh well, will try to work on that last one this weekend :D :D :D !
  18. Tyson, I'm really enjoying reading this thread. I think it's a great idea that you guys came up with here.

    I wrote something similar in the form of a magazine-style "article" about the Central Missouri & Southern. Rather than try to repeat it all here (especially since it's set in columns with photos), I'll simply say it can be downloaded from my website. It's a pdf format and is titled "CMS Story." If anyone is interested, here's the url:

    I'm looking forward to your next installment. :)
  19. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Thanks Casey for the positive feedback! :) As you know I have already visited your site and read the CMS Story. As well as everything else there also! :rolleyes: The CMS Story is a work of art and I full well understand why you are reluctant to do the whole process all over again here. For anybody else reading this thread who hasn't yet visited Casey's site I urge you to do so! Not only is the CMS Story well worth the trip but the rest of the site will be well worth your time as well! I have visited many sites over the years and Casey's is as good as it gets IMHO !!!!
  20. Tyson, thanks for the compliments and the nice "report card." You are ever the gentleman. :)

    Now back to your postings. I really like how you've intertwined "history," a bit of philosophy, and a whole lot of solid advice for those planning layouts. It's all very entertaining but educational.

    IMHO your postings (and perhaps some of your photos to go with them) should be collected into a single "article" and posted in the Archives. ;) :)

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