Question about which road to model? Help!

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by trainsteve2435, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. Hello everyone, i have kind of a dilema here in W.Va.. All of my life, all of my friends around here have modeled the eastern roads (C&O, B&O, Chessie, CSX, etc.) so thats always what i modeled. To be quite honest, i dont know much about western roads, except that their are some really nice and interesting looking paint schemes out there. I do know im tired of the same old east coast stuff. I have recently started my 2nd layout built in my 24' x 22' garage. It is 2' wide all the way around my garage like a big "U" with 6.5' peninsulas on each end for turn around and continuious running if i choose. It is constructed of 1/4" ply topped with 1" pink extruded foam. The layout is 52" above the ground and there is no plans as of yet to add any inclines. This got me wondering, maybe i shoulld model a western railroad. Well, i think i have decided to go with the AT&SF right around the transition era. The big question is this..... What other roads operated beside the AT&SF and what type of theme could i work into this? My preferences are but not limited to: Tankers, Hoppers, both open and closed, reefers, dry box, pulp wood, wood chips, cement, and i like the 48' Maxxi's. I know this sounds like im wishing for the moon, but i really could use some input here. The last time i attempted a layout, i had no idea of what a theme was. I went to my LHS and bought anything and everything because it looked cool. Well, this time around i want to have a plan. Anyone who can give me some good examples or guidence, i would really appreciate it. Thanks Guys!:thumb:
  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    WOW Sounds like you got a pretty big space for a great sized layout.

    What about UP, BNSF, and CNW?? Those are my other favoites besides CSX.
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    CB&Q ,DR&GW,SP,SLSF,SPS and CGW just to name a few AT&SF would be a lot of hoppers, reefers ,tank cars , grain box cars , the best thing would be to get hold of a book on the Santa Fe.
  4. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Any ideas on where along the AT&SF you would be modeling? The system spread from Los Angeles to Chicago, a swath of over two-thirds of the country, with terrain including coastal, mountain, desert and plains, in every sort of territory. The "transition era" for AT&SF was fairly brief: because so much of their system was in dry parts of the country, they made every effort to switch quickly from steam to diesel. Their last steam locomotives were real monsters, too. Good companion roads for the AT&SF system would be Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, Chicago Northwestern, Chicago Burlington & Quincy, and the Denver & Rio Grande Western.

    But much depends on where you are modeling within a very large railroad. If you don't plan on adding any inclines, something in the desert, or the midwest, or the central valley of California, would work.
  5. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Don't forget my favorit road, The Rock Island.:D It work along with the SP and UP in the Southwestern US.:thumb:

  6. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

    If you got the room for some mountain railroading, and it sounds like you do, go with atsf and d&rgw (SP) and do an interchange between the 2. A lil passenger shuffling up the mountains, some coal comin down......
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It would depend on where you are modeling the AT&SF. In Chicago, you would have interchange with most railroads in the country. I think the D&RGW would interchange in New Mexico. In Los Angeles you would have interchange with U.P. & S.P. If you model Cajon pass, the U.P. has had a trackage rights agreement with AT & SF forever, and I think the S.P. used to share tracks with the AT & SF through Cajon before they built their own route through Cajon parrallel to AT & SF in the late 40's. I think they did the Cajon sharing in exchange for letting the AT & SF share Tehachapie. On Tehachapie, the AT & SF has trackage rights over the S.P. (now U.P.) main. In the Ca central valley, AT & SF's main ran parrallel to the S.P. main perhaps 5 miles East of the S.P. main. You could probably do some selective compression and put the two mains closer together, but don't make them a double track mainline, they weren't that close together.

    I don't know much about operations in Texas & Oklahoma, or the midwest, but both S.P. & AT & SF operated in Texas & Oklahoma, and KCS operates in that area as well.
  8. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Gee! It would be great to model the ATSF in the bay area! you the most bang for your buck! A huge bridge... rolling golden hills...tunnels...big cities with lots of industry...and even an important car float service to the docks in San Fancisco (from richmond)

    CAR Float (Today):

    Car Float (in 1960):

    Richmond shops:

    More ATSF in the bay... :
  9. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    ATSF in the transition era in the flatlands of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas would include lots of grain boxcars, early grain hoppers, oil and propane tankers, reefers, boxcars, and more grain boxcars. Companion railroads in these areas would include MKT, MP, SLSF, SP, and possibly KCS. As jetrock stated, the transition era on ATSF was relatively brief. Once into the diesel era they bought almost every type of diesel and lots of them.
  10. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I think the best time and place to model America's railroads is, The Southerwestern US and the time from the late 1940's to the 1960's. You have everything.:thumb:

    First is the locomotive power. You have both steam and deisel locomotives. I even think the UP's Big Boy was running at this time. As for rolling satock, you have it all!:thumb:

    Then there is the terain. You will have the flat farmlands of the midwest. You can haul corn, wheat, and soy beans. The midwest flows into the Rock Mountains of the Southwest. As for cities, you will large and small.:thumb:

    You will have alot of railroads to use. I think it would be a cool layout to operate. It will give you more insight about American history in this time peroid. This makes me start to think.

  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Santa Fe had a problem with steam that was almost unique to them. They ran so much through the desert, that they had very bad water available locally on much of the mainline. The result was that they had to haul water as well as fuel oil all over the road to keep the steamers running. They were one of the few if not the only railroad allowed to buy ft units during WW2 instead of steam. Basically by 1952, the transition era was pretty much over on the Santa Fe. I think they had a bigger than expected harvest of produce crops in 1954 or 1955 that resulted in some steam engines being brought back on line for the summer, but after that steam was gone. I think the last run for steam on the Santa Fe was a special trip of 3751 up Cajon Pass in August or September of 1955. On the other hand other railroads kept steam for a couple of years after it was gone from the Santa Fe, so you could still run steam from another railroad after the 1955 time period if you wanted to and still be prototypical if you car for that sort of thing. Another advantage of modeling a place like Cajon Pass where the Santa Few shared tracks with S.P. and U.P. is that the U.P. ran a lot of USRA design steam engines. Santa Fe had no USRA designs on the roster, so for Santa Fe prototype steam you are at the mercy of the model manufacturers. BLI has come out wiht quite a few Santa Fe prototype steam engines, but I don't know about you, but BLI is way over my budget for motive power.

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