Seeking expert advice for my new 1880s layout.

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Will_annand, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I am starting a new layout, I have the info up on my website:

    The floor plan and my attempt at deciding on a "table" configuration are in the Layout area.

    I am trying to decide how best to fill the area. Locos will be 4-4-0 exclusively, rolling stock wil be at most 40' box or Overton style passenger (MDC).

    My future "Ideal" layout will be a series of 30"x48" modules (either 8 or 14), that is when I can get my own house and leave this apartment.

    Any suggestions are welcome.
  2. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    The last thing I would call myself is "expert", but I do want to welcome a fellow 1880's modeler to the Gauge.

    Depending upon the nature and locale of your pike, I would suggest that the MDC Overtons are a bit freaky in that they are so short. The more typical standard gauge passenger cars of the period would be 45 footers and longer.

    And I'd go the other direction with my freight cars. I don't think there were many 40 footers then --- with the exception of a few buggy cars. 28 to 34 feet would be the more typical length.

    I do agree whole heartedly with your plan to run nothing but 4-4-0s. They were far and away the predominant locos of the period. (But I'd warn you off the new MDC 4-4-0. It is sized and detailed to represent more the late 90s to the turn of the century.) And in my opinion, the old Bachmann 4-4-0 is aesthetically and mechanically inferior.

    Good luck

  3. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Thanks Bill.

    My decision to run 4-4-0s was made becuase the Credit Valley used them exclusively. When the line was absorbed into the Canadian Pacific in 1883, they had 19 locomotives, all 4-4-0. I also agree about the Bachman being cheap quality and the MDC being of a later vintage. IHC and Rivarossi seem to be the correct models.

    As to the Overtons, I like the look of the small MDC 34' cars and as the prototype was a poor short line, I suspect they used the smaller cars.

    In his book "The Credit Valley Railway - The Third Giant", James Filby talks about the little 4-4-0 and the two head-end baggage cars and four coaches. Trying to remember the power of a 4-4-0, having to pull 6 cars over the area of the Credit Valley, which is escarpment type terrain. I believe them to be the smaller 34' variety.

    As to the freight consists, not much is mentioned about them, however judging from the industry in the area of the branch I wish to model, I would need Box, Stock, Flat and Gondola types.

    Industry was Grist Mill, Saw Mill, Oatmeal Mill, Brownstone Quarry, Lime Kiln, Livestock (both sheep and cattle), brewery and distillery. There were also wagon makers, cooperages, and a furniture factory.
  4. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    By the way Bill, where is "The Jefferson & Overland Railway" located?

    I know, in your layout room, but what area are you modeling. :D
  5. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    I’m not familiar with the Credit Valley. But if it interchanged with larger Canadian roads, you could get some pretty good ideas of freight cars that might have been seen on the Credit Valley from historical information on those roads.

    The Jefferson and Overland Rwy (fictitious) is in the state of Jefferson (sorta fictitious), and built East from the Pacific to connect with the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley RR (real --- part of the Chicago & Northwestern) in Wyoming, to form the second US transcontinental RR, in competition with the Central Pacific and Union Pacific.

    The state of Jefferson actually was almost real --- several times. Denizens of Northern California and Southern Oregon occasionally get mad at their respective state governments and agitate to break away and form their own state, which they always intend to call Jefferson. There have been a number of these movements down through the years, the most serious of which was well under way when it was stopped by WWII. That’s all true history. In my imagined history, Jefferson became a state from the get-go, right along with California and Oregon. (A web search for “State of Jefferson” will show that I’m not making up the real part.) That changes history a bit. The region developed far more than it has in fact, and the J&O was in SP's way, so the J&O was able to take control of the Oregon and California RR in the 1880s instead of SP --- which gave the J&O through access to Portland.

    By the way. Welcome to the Gauge.

    And that's a neat animated thing of the "General" you have. Which reminds me to advise that my favorite basis for bashing 4-4-0 locos is the old Mantua General.

  6. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Thanks again Bill, a friend sent me the animated General becuase he knew of my liking for the old 4-4-0s. I am not sure where he got it.

    you seem to be at the other end of the continent. :wave:

    The Credit Valley was about 20 miles west of Toronto and ran about 40 miles north of Lake Ontario.

    I will attempt to research the Canadian Pacific RR and see what they used back then.

    Good luck with the J&O
  7. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Thanks Will.....

    Have fun with your research.

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I found a picture of CV #19 in Omer Lavallee's book "Canadian Pacific Steam Locomotives (Railfare, 1985).
    Can you get access to a copy of the book?
    I've lived near the CV line for the last quarter century, but you probably don't need any info from this era.
    The attached photo shows steam on the Credit Valley (at Forks of Credit) but they are NOT CVR locos.

    Attached Files:

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Will,

    I used to live in Orangeville, right by the CP line as it crossed John Stree, and I used to cross the yard going to school everyday. Unfortunately, I did not may much attention in those days... :oops:

    Have you seen this layout?

    It is a little later than your era (about 70 years), but is impressive nonetheless, and is set in the same locale.

    I have contemplated the module idea, and have in fact signed on with the local modular group ( ) because of restrictions on permanent layouts in my home.

    I am not sure I can offer anything approaching "expert" advice, except to say that The Gauge is a great forum, and I always get useful advice. ;)


    PS - Also bookmarked your page!
  11. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Andrew, the CP line that is there now was actually the old TG&B right of way. The CVR line went north of Hwy 9 and the yards, turntable, engine house and facilities were taken down sometime around 1910 if I remember rightly.

    Have a look at the "Maps" section of my website under the map that says "Orangeville to Cataract".

    Thanks for the links, I will check them out momentarily.
  12. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    :wave: Welcome to the-gauge Will :wave:

    Neat era and website. It will be fun to watch it unfold! Have you still got the hat? :D :D :D
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Here's a few more links for you that you may already have:
    Old Time Trains has some stuff about the Forks of the Credit and the Orangeville area. is a great site, mostly about railways of eastern Ontario, but there is some great stuff about building modules and DCC. Look for it under the "DCC" link, once you are inside. Bob is occasionally on The Gauge as well.

  14. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Thanks Andrew, there is a wealth of information there.
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Will,

    I have spent a bit of time checking out your web site, and looking at your plans for the benchwork. Although your plans have changed a little in your discussions here at The Gauge, I think you are planning for a 36" depth against the wall.

    I would caution that this is really too deep, especially 1) in the corners, and 2) if the layout is going to be higher than a standard table top. You just won't be able to reach well enough to build things, or rerail locos or rolling stock.

    If the layout is to be truly modular, then maybe you can move the pieces away form the wall to work on them, and simply do a "boarding house reach" for the occasional accident. If the layout is to be attached to the walls in any permanent way, I would limit your depth to 24" or 30" at most.

    The exception to this depth is of course where you have return loops, and/or where youcan approach the layout from more than one side.

    I have attached a little sketch of how 4 tables might fit into your alcove, with room for a workbench/desk under the window.

    So those are my few thoughts - hope they are helpful.


    Attached Files:

  16. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Wow, lots of info....


    I checked out your website, you have a lot of information there. You are way ahead of me.

    I see you went Pico code 70. I was thinking Atlas Code 83 as it is readily available in flextrack at my LHS.

    One question, your stations for Forks, Cataract, Alton and Orangeville, are they kits, bashed or scratch? Any chance of getting a set of plans for them?

    The forks bridge will be a challenge for me. In the day of the CVR, the bridge was 85' above the river, about 1150' long and almost the full 90 degree arc. In scale terms that would be 12" high and 12' long. I think I will scale it done... :p

    As to the benchwork... All tables will be free standing, I only rent here and the landlord might get upset if I start attaching. Also there are plans to move in a year or two. As to the depth, I am 6'2" with a 34" sleeve, so physically I can reach the back. The tables would be movable so I could get around to scenic. As to the corners, I will most likely have an access hole or something...

    I like the idea of the 4th table... I have adjusted the "Layout" page of the website. New ideas every day.


    Thanks, no don't have the white hat anymore. :( BUT I do have an engineers hat now.


    You are of course correct, I have found out that Con-Cor makes some 40' "old time" passengers that would be more like what the CVR used.

    Other changes on the website include, dividing the "History" page into sections. Updating the Gallery picture... there is nothing to show there yet.

    Each day I read and think, and some days I even do....
    As I have said, my "Hobby Wallet" is empty. :cry:

    But the guys here are great, :thumb: please keep the ideas coming, they really help.

    Thanks guys.
  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Sorry Will, I can't take credit for that Orangeville layout and web site. It belongs to a guy named Richard Wakefield in Missisauga. I have emailed back and forth with him a few times, and he has all kinds of info on the area. He also has open houses form time to time. I'd love to get down there to see one - I'll make it eventually!

    As far as the stations go, they are scratch built from what I can tell. The Orangeville "witch's hat" is a scratch, and is too new for you anyway - it was built in the 1920s. I would encourage you to contact Richard (email address on his site) - he was happy to share his info with me.

    If I was to start again, I'd definitely use Code 83 or smaller. For your era, the smaller the better - maybe even as small as Code 55. I think Microengineering makes flex track that small.

    Is the trestle you refer to the one that is still standing at the Forks? I went across that once on foot when I was about 12 or 15 years old. Scared the #$%* out of me!

    It is definitely one of the more interesting places and times to model, so I will be happy to see photos of your progress!!


    PS. I sympathize with the empty "Hobby Wallet" syndrome... ;)
  18. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Andrew, my mistake.

    I thought it was your site.

    Yes, the trestle just south of the Station. It was much bigger, in the 1920s, the CP filled it in when it modernized it.

    I know the Witches Hat is too new, but I do love the look of that station...

    This is why I think I want to go with a "feels like 1880s CVR" layout as opposed to a 100% Prototypical layout.

    On the CVR, the trestle was long and open... check out the pics on my "Prototype" page. Forks was a flag station, so no passing track, also there was one siding, where flat cars were loaded with "Brownstone" to be taken to Toronto to build the Paliament Buildings and the then New City Hall, now Old City Hall :p

    Well, for the next 3-4 months it will be planning and research only.
  19. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Well, I went to the club tonight and came home with a box of goodies. I had to make a small "Donation" to the club, but I did get 24 pieces of used track and a left hand turnout. They are 9" Code 100 rail, so they won't stay on the finished layout, but I can use them for templates and test track.

    Also in the box was 8 pieces of rolling stock. 3 Box, 3 stock and 2 tankers. The tankers are not the correct era, but can be kit bashed to make passable flat cars. All 8 are "Mechano" made in Slovenia. But have Kadee trucks and couplers. With a little paint and weathering, they will be passable as well.

    It is a start. :thumb:

    As of tonight my layout is a 4"x42" board with single mainline.
    All 8 cars fit on the mainline. :D

    Oh boy I am a railroad man. :cool:
  20. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    View from the Forks trestle in 1960. Not what you want, but...
    Re layout depth. I have pat of my layout that's 30" wide. It's almost at underarm height and I find it a stretch to the back and I knock things over at the front. (I'm 6 feet). I have a pair of plastic steps that I use.

    Attached Files:

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