Wauseon & Norwalk Railroad

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by 2-8-2, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Well, I've been trolling around this site for over a year now. Back when I first decided to take on building a model railroad, one of the first things I did was begin looking for online resources...which led me to The Gauge. During that time, I've slowly been gathering materials when I could, buying rolling stock, and doing a lot of research. I've posted a few dismal attempts at track plans, some weathering pics, and built my first structure (which was a miserable failure at best).

    I figured it was about time I started my own official thread to begin posting my progress, or lack therof. Some may remember my random postings on what I was trying to accomplish with my railroad, but for those who don't, here are some initial thoughts: I'll be modeling northern Ohio in 1952. I chose this era (as most do I assume) so I can have both steam and diesel on the layout. I'm a fan of the Nickel Plate Road, so it was important to me to somehow incorporate it. I didn't want to model the NKP, because prototype modeling just doesn't appeal to me. My freelanced road (as indicated in the thread title) is the Wauseon & Norwalk Railroad. These are real cities in Ohio, Norwalk once being considered to receive the NKP yard.

    The road herald I came up with is my forum avatar. You may recognize this as being an edited version of an old Norfolk & Western logo, the letters have just been reversed. I also spent a considerable amount of time on my engine's paint scheme, revising it many times. Here is the final version:


    This scheme will be painted on an Atlas GP-7 by Stephan Lamb Associates. I'm pretty confident in my airbrush skills, but not on something like an N scale engine. I'd rather have the pros do it than do something myself I'll never be happy with. I'm sending my engine to them tomorrow, and I'll post progress pics as they become available.

    That's it for now! I just wanted to get my thread going, as it will help keep me motivated to get this project going! Wish me luck!
  2. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    While I'm thinking about it, here's the system map I made:


    I tried to think in realistic terms when laying out this system map. NKP trackage (blue lines) covers the majority of this region. However, there is no connection to Bowling Green. The NKP also does not have an east/west route in the northern region that doesn't run through Toledo, which is a major city with a lot of rail traffic. The W & N gives the NKP access to Bowling Green and also a "Toledo Bypass".

    Trackage between the cities of Fremont and Norwalk is shared, I routed the rest of the railroad myself.
  3. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I bought a structure today, the Walthers Modular 3-in-1 kit. My first attempt at building a structure didn't go so well, and was an expensive mistake. I tried a Bar Mills product, which is a laser cut wood kit. It's very nice, but a bit out of my skill range. I'm not really sure if this modular kit will actually go on my layout yet, but it's good practice if nothing else. This kit has 3 available configurations to build. I opted for the "Expanded L" shape, which is the biggest. Following some tips I read here at The Gauge, and some previous modeling experience, I got a few walls glued together tonight.

    First, I was sure to cut the pieces from their trees with an X-Acto knife. Twisting and bending them out of the tree can cause them to break or warp.


    Next, I sanded down the surfaces to ensure a tight fit. Those edges may look straight, but they're not. I used a small circular motion when sanding, so as not to make the edges uneven. This is 150 grit sandpaper.


    Next, I checked the instructions to make sure I was fitting the right piece. I did one complete wall at a time. I assembled the whole first floor wall, then the second. Last I joined the two together.



    For anyone thinking about building one of these kits, I have a little advice. Read the instructions first! The pieces look like they join together, but they don't. The decorative trim goes between the wall pieces, you don't cement the walls together directly. I found out the hard way when one of the walls came up short. It was an easy fix since the glue hadn't dried, but a dumb mistake on my part.

    Even after sanding, there is still a gap/seam between the first and second floors. I'm tempted to try and cover this, but I'd probably only end up ruining the brick detail. I've seen those clamps at the hobby shop that keep walls straight while glueing, so it might be worth the investment. All in all, I'm happy with my progress so far. I'll assemble the roof details tomorrow, then decide on a paint scheme.

    Note: Thumbnail pictures were used in courtesy of those with slower internet connections. Click the image to see it full-sized.
  4. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I've made some progress on the building over the last few days. The walls are now erect, and things are starting to take shape. I should be able to get the rest of the trim on and maybe even a coat of paint over the weekend.

    On a side note, I'm a bit disappointed with the quality of these Cornerstone Modulars. Perhaps quality isn't the right word...I don't like the design. The modular feature that allows multiple configurations is good, but it leaves unsightly seams in the building. Maybe a light sanding will help fix this, but it will never look as good as a one-piece design.

    In retrospect, I've made a decision about my layout. With its small 3x6 size, I don't have a lot of room for a large amount of structures. I'm opting for the quality over quantity approach to structures from now on, and will gladly spend the cash on better kits.
  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I really like your paint scheme..Its really sharp..I like the overall concept of your W&N since its says"short line.:thumb: Do you have any branch lines?
  6. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    Well, here it is folks...version six. After numerous conversations via email and phone, the above design will begin painting on Monday. Some notable changes are to the road number (revised from #173) and the W & N logo is now featured on the nose and tail of the engine. The final colors will be something similar to Reading Railroad Green, NYC Grey, and Safety Yellow. Again, this part of my dream wouldn't be possible without Stephan Lamb Associates. They've been great throughout this whole project. Steve, Eddie, George...thanks for being so patient and helpful.

    Road number 173 was sent to SLA in my original design as something generic. After giving it some thought, I didn't want my fictional road to seem that large. I realize that numbering engines doesn't have to follow a specific pattern, but in my mind, a smaller number is better. I'm so excited to see how this GP-7 turns out, I can't hardly wait.

    brakie -

    No branch lines are proposed at this time. The W&N exists only as shown in the map posted earlier in this thread. However, I did make another map with a couple branch lines for use later. It's my dream to someday have enough space, time, and money to have a basement layout, so that I can expand on the basic short line.

    I'm still working on my railroad design outline. In a nutshell, it describes the history of the W&N, and how I want to run it. I'll be sure to post that for review here once it's done. My rolling stock fleet continues to grow, my first engine is being painted, I have designs for other engines, I'm working on structures...the only thing missing is a track plan. I'm still struggling with finding a layout I really like and want to build.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    2-8-2,Here's the "history"of my C&HV.
    The Columbus & Hocking Valley Ry is owned and operated by the CDB Industries and is one of 7 short lines owned by CDBI.The C&HV came into existence in 1978 when CDBI bought the old Athens sub-division of the Chessie System.During this purchase 2 other short lines was bought,the Parkersburg & Ohio Valley RR that ran from Parkersburg WV to Athens Oh and the Ohio Midland Ry that ran from Jackson,Oh to Newark,Oh.These 2 roads was quickly merged into the new C&HV.By purchasing these roads the CBDI finally had the long sought after southern Ohio coal fields and industries.The CDBI relaid the track from Nelsonville to Athens which had been removed by the C&O some years ago.The old Logan yards was rebuilt and upgraded during this time as it would serve as the home shops and the only major yard on the C&HV since it was centrally located on the line.The second yard would be located in the old C&O(nee CHV&T) Mound Street yard and would require trackage rights over the Chessie to reach..A agreement was struck with the Chessie for those rights.The former P&OV yard in Parkersburg was upgraded as was the OM yards at Jackson and Newark.
    The C&HV connects with the following roads.
    Chessie(c&o) at Columbus.
    N&W at Columbus.
    CR at Columbus
    DT&I at Jackson
    Chessie(b&o) at Newark.
    R.J.Corman at Newark
    Scioto Valley Lines at Lancaster.
    Ironton Northern at Athens.
    Chessie(b&o) at Athens.
    Commodities haul: Grain,Lumber,coal,coke,steel,fly-ash,food stuffs,sand,glass,corn sweetener,corn starch,vegetable oils,scrap,pipe,chemicals,paints,news print,pulpwood,wood chips and other general freight.Total cars handle 32,584 a year
    Thanks to a aggressive marketing team freight traffic has climb a staggering 33% since the CDBI started the C&HV.
  8. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    Here's my first design for a caboose for the W&N. I'm not too sure I like the safety stripes yet, but I wanted to try something different. Whatever changes this may go through before the final product is painted, it will always be green w/ a black roof.

    I think my next revision may be shrinking the stripes down a little...maybe half the size they are now.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The safety stripes on the caboose give it a bit more modern look than the shade of green and the loco scheme would suggest.
    Have you considered making the diesel paint scheme directional? could be a simple as making the rear stripes go down instead of up, or just wrap around.
  10. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    When I first started the process of designing the paint scheme for my GP-7, one of the first things I did was look to other railroads. I probably viewed hundreds of paint schemes. Wrap-around designs and stripes coming to a point, usually pointing down, were among the most common...which was something I wanted to avoid. My biggest influence is the Nickel Plate Road, whose engines also feature stripes pointing upward. Since the NKP and my railroad share tracks, and I will have both on my layout, I decided that this is a design feature they should have in common.

    But I think you're right about the caboose, the safety stripes do make it look too modern. I tend to try and get too fancy, and that seems to be the case here. I'm wondering now if green is even the way to go. I don't want to use red, because that's what NKP uses...but maybe ATSF brown might be an alternative. Just a simple, plain caboose.
  11. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    It's a long read, but here is the first draft of my road's historical timeline:

    May 8, 1931: Area businessmen from Norwalk, Ohio hold a meeting at the home of Cyrus J. Smith, president of the Norwalk Savings and Loan Co. Others in attendance were Arden L. Cain, Jesse P. Hughes, Wayne S. Fitzgerald, and the Hon. David M. Buchanan. Discussion began of building a railroad extending from Norwalk to Bowling Green, Ohio.

    December, 1931: A trackage rights agreement is reached between the newly founded Norwalk Railway and the Nickel Plate Road between the cities of Bellevue, home of the NKP yard, and Norwalk, Ohio. Right of way was secured almost as fast as surveys were completed between Fremont and Bowling Green, Ohio.

    February 3, 1932: A similar meeting takes place between local business leaders from Wauseon, Ohio. American Steel Co. founder, Anthony R. Hereld, leads discussions about building a line from Wauseon to Bowling Green, Ohio. Financial backing is secured through several silent partners, and surveying begins almost immediately. Within a few months of its inception, the Wauseon Railroad Co. is formed.

    August, 1932: Financial and bureaucratic hurdles prevent either road from laying track up to this point. An agreement is reached between American Steel Co. and Norwalk Railway to provide rails at a cost of $72.00 per ton. The first track is laid at Fremont, Ohio. By the end of 1932, Wauseon Railroad starts construction of its line.

    July 1, 1933: Both roads reach Bowling Green, Ohio within a few weeks of each other. As if by fate, ceremonies by both roads are held on the same day. Before a single train is run by either company, talks begin of the benefits of a merger.

    August, 1933: Norwalk Railway leases several units from NKP, largely providing switching services at the Bellevue yard. Wauseon Railroad purchases three ex-NKP steam units, and begins service. Talks of merging the two fledgling companies continue, as each faces bankruptcy from construction and start up costs.

    March 17, 1934: The Wauseon and Norwalk Railroad is formed with the issuance of public stock, which is largely bought by NKP. Controlling interest in the company is retained by its founders, though the new board of directors is kept on a tight leash. Hereld is named as CEO, as he becomes the largest private shareholder, selling off ownership of American Steel Co. and investing all proceeds in W&N stock.

    June, 1936: Still reeling from construction costs and economic effects the Depression, the W&N finally begins operating in the black, turning its first profit. This would be short lived however, as the company enters into a lawsuit with the city of Bowling Green over grade crossing maintenance.

    September, 1937: After a series of accidents, including a derailment near the city limits of Scotch Ridge, the W&N begins sweeping changes. By late 1940, the entire line is upgraded, old equipment is retired, and new motive power is purchased.

    April, 1941: Shortly after the U.S. enters World War II, the W&N shifts its focus to the war effort. The former Lima Locomotive Works facility is purchased by the Army Ordinance Division, and is slated to serve as an intermediate depot for modifying combat vehicles, including tanks. Nearly all engines will be diverted to serving this new facility.

    November, 1942: United Motors Services took over operation of the plant to process vehicles under government contract. The plant prepared many vehicles for Europe, including the M-5 light tank, the T-26 Pershing tank, and a “super secret” amphibious tank intended for use on D-Day. With nearly its entire fleet dedicated, the W&N purchases two F7 units from EMD for transporting troops. To further show its support for the war effort, the W&N repaints its entire motive power roster.

    January, 1948: Activity slowed during the post-WWII period, and the plant temporarily became a storage facility. In 1948, tanks were dismantled and deprocessed there. The W&N resumes normal freight activity, abandoning all service to the facility.

    June, 1950: The W&N headquarters is moved from Bowling Green to Norwalk, Ohio. Having outgrown its former facility, the new building is constructed near the Norwalk yard. Again, sweeping changes are made as the company restructures, downsizing management. The company endures yet another lawsuit, as several financial obligations have not been met.

    October, 1950: Several key advisors are fired as rumors of embezzlement and fraud make the local papers. A new, laborer-friendly company is born. The W&N begins providing its workers with wages and benefits unheard of the railroad industry. The expense nearly leads the W&N to bankruptcy for the second time.

    October, 1952: The company makes an attempt to increase its public image, largely due to declining passenger service. A new “safety first” approach is adopted. Again, the line was upgraded and the equipment roster renovated. The success of this new image was well-met by the public, as revenues steadily increased.

    August, 1953 (Present day): The Wauseon & Norwalk Railroad is once again operating at a profit. Employee morale is very high, and the road is lauded for providing excellent service by both the private and industrial sectors. Though a marginal part of its operations, the W&N recently purchased two new EMD F7 units, which are dedicated to passenger service.

    The majority of W&N operations takes place between their Norwalk yard, and the NKP yard, located at Bellevue. Switchers perform daily tasks of making and breaking trains for the Nickel Plate Road. Like with its labor practices, the W&N is again attempting to be an industry leader, and is among the first to use covered hopper cars for the purpose of grain loading and unloading.

    Transported commodities include: Grain, coal, coke, steel, bulk dry goods, scrap metal, U.S. mail, milk, passengers, limestone, vegetable oils, and others.
  12. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    While I was at it today, I knocked out a few preliminary designs for other W&N paint schemes.

    Here is the F7 design. I'm not sure if this will ever make it to paint, as I fear the complicated design will be too costly to do.


    At first, I was going to stick with EMD engines exclusively. The GP-7 and F7 are my two favorite diesel engines, both made by EMD. But when it came to switchers, I don't really like what they have to offer. The SW8 is a reasonable choice for my freelanced road, and is readily available in N scale. However, I really like the ALCo S-2. Unfortunately, the only thing I can find is an old Arnold/Rivarossi model. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get ahold of one of these, but if I do, here's what it would probably look like:


    Here is a revised and simplified caboose. I'm pretty happy with this design, and I've even ordered an undecorated NE-6 style caboose to get started. I opted for the NH style instead of NKP. The only difference is the NH style windows are placed more towards the center, where as NKP style are further towards the ends. I already have an NKP NE-6 caboose.


    And finally, some boxcars. I may use both black and Oxide Red paint schemes for these to mix things up a little. I also added in a safety slogan that could be featured on some of them:


  13. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    After considering several track plans over the last year, including several homegrown attempts, I think I've finally settled on one: Atlas N18, the "Scenic and Relaxed". As described on a website:


    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]With this layout you can get a lot of railroad and scenery in a small area due to the full "open grid" construction in which trackboards are located on stilts only where roadbed is required and the rest of the space is completely open. Other good features of the N18 are a twice-around mainline with two double-ended passing tracks, and continuous operation of two trains on a single track. TABLE SIZE: 36" x 72"

    I have 4x6 available, so that will leave me with additional room for scenery or structures. I'm not very happy with the bottom/right portion of this layout. With the additional space I have, I might drop the yard area down and modify the plan a bit. I like that this plan allows the running of two trains at once, but the limited amount of sidings concerns me.

    At a cost of roughly $250-$300, it stays within my budget. I think there is enough to work with here to keep me happy. I may try my hand at modifying this plan to suit my needs, but I have a feeling its going to be a matter of trial and error once I have actual tracks in my hands.
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I might modify the plan slightly in the lower right by bringing the sidings off the mainline then letting them turn up to run parallel to the main, but separated. Maybe add another one. GivI would make one set of these siding your eastern interchange and the other your western interchange.
  15. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    I am putting safety stripes on my deisels, quickly and easily, and I can change them if I decide something else might look better. Go to your LHS and get the striping that people use on model cars. It sticks on your models by static electricity, no glue needed. Run it for a while, and if you want to change it, just peel it off and reapply with your new pattern. Once you are certain of what you want, you can seal it with a spray of Dulcoat or clearcoat. That's what I'm doing for H.O., but it would also work in larger gauges. If you use it for pinstriping your diesels, it turns out as good or better than factory paint.

    You can change a whole fleet (10 or 20) of deisels, cabooses, in one night, and you don't even have to wait for the paint to dry.
  16. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    My thread has fallen to page 3! Guess I've really been slacking lately. With the last post made over a month ago, what do I have to report as "progress" within the last 30 days?

    1) The Wauseon & Norwalk Railroad Co. website is now online! Click the link to it in my signature, and check out my weak HTML skills. I'm glad it's up, as it was one of the major things on my to-do list. Not everything is operational yet, but it's enough to keep me happy for awhile.

    2) I purchased a new digital camera. My old one just wasn't good enough for a lot of things, especially shooting something as small as an N scale railroad. I'm very happy with my new camera, and I hope those who view my online rants and images will enjoy the pictures.

    3) I also purchased the track and roadbed (just last night actually). My order has already been shipped, and should be here by early next week. I was able to find the Scenic and Relaxed as a whole kit, switches included, for around $250. No more excuses now! The blue foamboard and 1x6 boards leaning against the wall in the garage now have a purpose!

    4) Work on my GP-7 came to a disasterous conclusion. The painters couldn't deliver as promised, so I'm waiting on a refund. It's very tempting to spend that money on airbrush equipment and just do it myself. I'll have to keep you posted on how this develops. I'd like to do it myself, but I'd hate to ruin it.

    5) I continue to weather rolling stock I've purchased, and the W&N caboose is ready for its finishing touches. I'm getting pretty good...well, decent...at weathering and detailing. Though I'd really like to super detail the engines. Maybe that'll be a project for the future.

    6) A major decision lies ahead: DC or DCC? With such a small layout, a lot of the advantages of DCC are lost anyway. I don't really like the idea of adding decoders, and the additional expense of DCC will push me over budget. But...I'm still not sure yet.

    7) I've gotten comfortable enough with my structure building skills to finally buy a few kits that will go on my layout, and not just be practice. I've still yet to finalize and industry plan, which is way overdue at this point in the game. Perhaps that should take priority one, even before a single track is laid.
  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I suggest that you start with DC but run the feeder wires down with a bit of slack in them. That will let you replace the wiring with a DCC bus if you want to. You can also wire the DCC unit into a cab of the DC wiring (if you go the cab way).
  18. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Your track plan doesn't really allow one train to run unattended while the other switches. Any switching operations are going to tie up portions of the main line unless you have changed the plan substantially. The only practical way to run 2 trains at the same time is with 2 operators. If and only if you have 2 operators on a regular basis, then DCC would make sense. DCC would allow you both to control your trains without having to worry about block tackles. But if it's just you, then stick with DC for the time being. Put in a few block toggle switches so you can "park" a second locomotive or train while you operate the first.

    my thoughts, your choices
  19. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I agree with you, Fred.

    While DCC is the "thing" these days, and I like to keep up with the Joneses, the major benefits of DCC just don't apply to my layout. You make a good point though. I'll make things DCC ready, just in case. Some day, this layout could expand, and then I'll be ready.
  20. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I finally made some measureable progress today! The real estate is done!

    I've been wanting to finish my benchwork for awhile now, just really haven't had any excuse other than putting it off for no reason. Now it's finished.

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