Small Town Modeling Project?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by upguy, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. upguy

    upguy Oregon Western Lines, CEO

    I live in a small community that has been dependent upon the timber industry throughout history, but the economy has been devastated by the virtual shutdown of the industry. About the only thing that the area's political leaders can come up with to boost the economy is tourism.

    Recently, a couple of us model railroaders came up with the idea of each business in town building a module (N-Trak?) for display (or small operating layout) in their individual stores to give the town a theme. Perhaps a couple times a year the modules could be put together for a big "trainfest" in the county fair pavillon. Modelers from all over could be invited to join in the fun and operate trains for a week or weekend (or year around...what the heck! Let's think BIG!).

    It would be interesting because John Day, Oregon, has never had an operating railroad. There is a narrow gauge tourist line (Sumpter Valley Railway) just over 50 miles away. The Oregon & Northwestern Railroad used to serve Seneca, Oregon which is 25 miles to the south of John Day.

    At this time I am working with the owner/operator of the local Dairy Queen to build a layout in his restaurant.

    I'd like to hear what some of you people think of the idea. Of course, I know that you are biased; but then you would be the people that would make something like this work anyway.

    Anybody have any thoughts on such a project?
  2. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    upguy, I think it's a great idea, I really do.
    There is a McDonalds next to Knotts Berry Farm in Annaheim CA which has a huge G gauge layout in their "dining" area. I'm sure it's another reason so many folks go in for a bite to eat.
    Tourists are always looking for something different, even a bicycle store with a layout attracts potential customers.
    In Cafe's it's a talking point.

    It's just a damned shame that an area's main source of income gets shut down :mad: But every cloud has a silver lining and with inginuity and imagination like you guys have, you will prevail.
    Good luck with the project.

  3. TerryR

    TerryR Member


    How about having each store's module be a model of that store? When you put it all together, you will have a model of the town...
  4. upguy

    upguy Oregon Western Lines, CEO


    That thought has been considered. The problem with it is: You don't get the downtown high density of businesses if there is only one business per module. We could, however, ask that each business be sure to model their own business somewhere on the module.

    Keep the ideas coming.
  5. Catt

    Catt Guest

    What if all the businesses contributed toward the building of a module of the downtown business district with all buildings being as close to the 1 to 1 building/business as possible?
  6. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Upguy, I think your idea really has potential!

    Did you already think of a railroad-theme for the modules? Do you already have some tourist traffic in John Day and/or Canyon City? Is there still some logging machinery around which could be (re)activated?

    Here are just a few ideas that buzzed through my head:

    Model railroading theme: The logging railroad(s) in (your) County that could have been.

    Scale: Probably in this case H0 (or H0n3) would be better than N

    Modules: Each module shows one remarkable scenic spot. I have no idea about the topography of your community, but there are perhaps places like a romantic gorge, a waterfall, ragged cliffs...
    AND every module shows a scaled-down vignette of logging operations (cutting down the trees, loading site, sawmill...) of the industry in your community. Only that these hot spots of the logging industry are interconnected by train instead of trucking roads! :D
    Of course, on every module the house/business of the owner/displayer can be represented. (Could even be the basis for a contest: Where in our community is this house? Can you find it?)

    Trainfest: Good idea. Make a tourist attraction out of it! Especially for the tourists - organize sightseeing tours to the real world log loaders, sawmills... which are modelled on your modules.

    I wish you lots of luck for your project!


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