On30 Industrial switching ideas

Discussion in 'On30 Forum' started by gcodori, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. gcodori

    gcodori Member

    I am looking for some inspiration regarding industrial and urban switching layouts in On30. I am interested in designing a module which is heavy on the urban/waterfront industries which includes street running.

    Most On30 modellers are doing very light industry or logging/mining, which does not interest me. I'd like to do something similar to an interurban layout, but using critters and small steam (with an industrial mallet thrown in there). I'm thinking 1930's-1945 timeframe, run down back alley theme.

    I'm afraid of the scale being too big to do any kind of industry of a reasonable size (an o scale warehouse could take up an entire module!). After modelling in N and HO, I don't know if I can adjust my planning to accomodate the increased volumn of O scale.

    Can someone point me towards some urban switching layouts (either O interurban or On30 steam/critter) for inspriation. I'd like to start out with 2 modules @ 2x4 feet.

    I did not post this to the planning threads as I am looking specifically for On30 examples and photos, not planning help.

    Greg C
  2. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    The simplest way to fit a big building into a mini-layout is to use the wall of the building as the backdrop. This allows you to model rather large structures and provide a sense of scale to the rest of the layout. Carl Arendt's mini layouts page ( http://www.carendt.us ) has a great variety of mini layouts, many of which are intended for narrow-gauge and most adaptable to On30.

    I'm not sure if you're using the term "interurban" correctly--the common use of "interurban" railroad is typically a passenger/commuter line, often electric, running between several cities. Did you perhaps mean urban railroading?
  3. gcodori

    gcodori Member

    Actually, I used the word interurban to describe the "style" of railroading ideas I was thinking of - perhaps a bettter railroading term would have been "belt line". I was trying to describe busy urban railroading as a theme, and interurban came to mind.

    The State Belt Line of San Francisco would be a good example of what I'm thinking of.

    The idea of using building fronts as backdrops is one I was thinking of, but I'm also interested in the buildings in the front or middle of the module. Those are the ones to take up space.
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    I model just such a railroad myself--Sacramento Northern's "belt line" around the perimeter of downtown Sacramento. It was standard gauge, but the basic purpose was to serve industries around the industrial perimeter of a city. Sacramento Northern was also an interurban--carrying passengers from Oakland to Sacramento to Chico--but interurban passengers went through the center of town, while freight went around the perimeter of the city.

    Narrow gauge limits your options somewhat--there wasn't a whole lot of narrow gauge left anywhere in the US in the 1930s, even for industrial use. Generally narrow-gauge industrial locomotives were used to move things about inside of industries, but they were often replaced by things like tractors and forklifts and trucks as those inventions were developed. Of course, it's fairly easy to justify a fictional line.

    About foreground-middle-ground buildings: Your best bet might be to put the big, big buildings in the back, and put smaller and not-so-deep structures in the middle: this will increase apparent depth and provide concealment for things like transfer tables or off-stage cassettes. Put short or zero-height things in the foreground (platforms for team track access, passing tracks, interchanges) so you have a variety of heights and don't block the lovely big buildings in the back.
  5. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    This might work as an On30 Belt-type line, although it is, in fact an interurban
    http://andygautrey.fotopic.net/ HIH
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  6. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    The YV was also a standard-gauge operation--not too dissimilar to the Sacramento Northern. HO scale switching-layout type plans seem like a natural for conversion to On30, other than the obvious differences in clearances and building sizes.
  7. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    I see Carl Arendt's web page has been mentioned. Nothing was said about time frame or where in the world you would like to place this layout. I was looking at some pictures of the White Pass and Yukon narrow gauge railroad and it has a wharf, along with some rugged mountain scenery. While it's 3' gauge, it could translate into On30 pretty easily IMHO. After WWII till it shut down in the recession of the 80's it was a busy innovative little railroad. Otherwise the field is wide open for freelancing such a railroad.

    Greg Elems
  8. gcodori

    gcodori Member

    I was interested in free-lancing, with a location on the west coast with a hint of south of the border (to give some flavor and allow the buildings/locos to be weathered).

    I'm still having a hard time finding photos of On30 industrial modelling online. I must be missing something, with all the critters that were the rage a few years ago (before the larger steam hit the market). I have plenty of links to HO scale inspiration in urban railroading, like - http://www.xclent.freeuk.com/p87/fedst1.htm
  9. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Might I suggest that you use the Rathole style of building where the railroad literally went through one side of a building to reach other buildings further down the track.This would allow fair sized O scale buildings and is/was definately used on the leftcoast.

    Check any of the articles Bob Smaus did for MR on his garage based SP/Los Angeles layout for some examples.These buildings along with some large building flats should give you plenty of urban style freight opps.
  10. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    West coast and a hint of south of the border? So we're talking southern California?

    The main problem is one of timeframe--you specified 1930-1945, not a lot of narrow gauge left by then in California. here's a list of central California narrow gauge railroads:


    The Pacific Coast Railway might match your period--the central California coast has always had a large Hispanic population, and it was a common carrier so lots of different types of traffic. It served some moderate-sized communities (San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria) so you could put in large industrial buildings, although it's not exactly dense urban territory.

    Critters are nice, but they're not necessarily 1930-45 period either: the Plymouth On30 critter that is so popular was a gas-mechanical originally produced during World War I.

    If you're okay with standard-gauge industrial modeling inspiration, let me present a couple of photos of my own layout:
  11. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

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