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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Coaltrain Posted - 10/13/2010 : 09:14:03 AM
This is the first official post for my new layout I am building in On3, the Slater Creek Railway. I became a fan of the Manns Creek Railway while researching information on coke ovens for a project on my HO railroad, the Roanoke and Southern. Shortly after discovering the MC an article on building MC hoppers in On30 by Sam Swanson was published in the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette. For fun I built one hopper with the intent of it being a static display. One thing led to another and I built the car to have operating unloading doors controlled by a DCC decoder. Wanting to see the car in action I started to consider building a layout in On30, but since I had only one small space to model railroad in would mean that my HO layout would have to be torn out. My HO layout met all my goals, was published in Model Railroader, and was complete, so I decided I missed layout building and decided that I would tear out the HO layout and try a new modeling adventure.

While I really enjoy modeling prototype railroads and their equipment, and swore that the next time I would model a prototype RR, I decided to once again do a fictional railroad. My reason is I like to have a little freedom to take pieces that I like of other railroads and put them together to form my own railroad that I believe will give the viewer a good idea what form of railroading I am modeling would be like, which I do by carefully picking features of railroads that do what my railroad does. I would do not pick "one of everything" to be on my layout, rather I pick features that would have been typical of railroads that are in my area and do the same work.

I liked many of the features of the Manns Creek railroad, I liked the area where the MC was located, but I wanted to be able to do a few things differently. I wanted to have a couple Rod locomotives, I know the MC did have some at one time but I want something a little bigger than they had, and I wanted to have a few different pieces of rolling stock and do a little more than haul logs, lumber, and coal. So using Google maps I searched around the area of the MC to find a location that I could place my railroad. I found another creek a little further up the New River called Slater Creek, located along the New River at a town called Thayer on the C&O.

From what Google showed Slater Creek looked a lot like Manns Creek and was close enough to each other that I could say that coal was discovered in Slater Creek canyon as well. Actually there was a coal mine there at one time and my story is that as that coal was mined out a narrow gauge RR was built up Slater Creek to reach new seams of coal. I am using many pieces of the Manns Creek on my railroad, one of which is the car shops which I plan on building to scale.

Now I know that some of you expected me to build this layout in On30, so did I, but just recently I decided to switch to On3. I switched to On3 after having a conversation with a fellow HO modeler, who after listening to me describe what I was going to do, what scale I was going to use, and how I was going to scratchbuild almost everything and he asked me why I was going to build it in the wrong gauge. I told him all the reasons why modelers choose On30 to represent three foot gauge railroads but he said that if I was going to hand lay all my track, scratchbuild all my rolling stock, and maybe even scratchbuild a locomotive or two why would I not just build it in scale three foot gauge. I decided that he was right, all the reasons to model in On30 did not really apply to my situation, so I switched to On3.



Here is the final track plan of the Slater Creek Railway. My room is very small so I had to pick a few key scenes that I wanted to model. the first scene along the top wall (by the room door) is the coal dump trestle. I struggled for a long time with this section because I wanted to have a place to dump the coal that could justify the need for lots of coal. The MC first dumped coal into a bin that was used to feed their coke ovens, later as demand for coal increased they built a sizing plant just above the coke ovens. In the later years the coke production decreased and most of the coal went to the sizing plant. I decided that I only had room for one place to receive coal and figured that the sizing plant would be the better choice. I had a hard time fitting in the sizing plant because in O scale the structure would be huge. I condensed the sizing tipple as much as I felt it could but it was still a huge model that took a lot of layout width, pushing the narrow gauge track way to the back of the layout. I decided to try flipping the sizing plant so that the standard gauge loading tipple would be at the back drop and the narrow gauge coal dump house would be at the front edge of the layout, which puts the operating track close to the front where it is easy to reach and watch the hoppers unload coal. Flipping the tipple around also allowed me to use trees to hide the fact that the entire tipple is not modeled, cutting down on the layout width required.

Flipping the coal sizing plant will allow me to model the Manns Creek Rayís stone engine house close to the front of the layout where it can be viewed up close. I also located a storage track here so I can have a place to store a few freight cars or work equipment. In the later years the MC did not use the stone engine house, they had built a new wood engine house at a different location, so I am going to use the stone engine house to store a passenger car and something else, maybe a locomotive used at this location, not sure yet.

The one strange feature of the flipped sizing plant will be the scenery, which will fall as it moves toward the backdrop. The narrow gauge track at the front of the layout will be at the top of the hill and the scenery will fall 16" actual inches as it goes to the backdrop. I don't know how this is going to work out, I hope it gives the operator a feeling of being high on the side of the mountain but we'll see, this will be a bit of an experiment.

Where I did have to deviate from the MC is where I located my switch back and which direction my RR leaves town, a forced compromise caused by the constraints of my room. My SCRy travels clockwise around the room as we leave the coal dump trestle, across Slater Creek and around a tall rock cliff and out of sight. As the tracks turn to the right wall they will be running along the wall of my layout room where my work bench will be located under the layout, this is the one spot there the benchwork supporting the visible track can be thin and high to provide enough room for a workbench. In the middle of the right wall there will be a turnout, one leg will continue along the south wall without an elevation change to a three track storage yard, the other leg will turn along the south wall and start a stiff grade up to my switch back located in the far left lower corner of the room.

At the switch back I believe I will have some room to model either a mining camp or a lumber camp. I think I can get a siding in here but I am not sure yet how I want to do it so I am leaving that off until I get to that point. the track plan makes it look like the switch back continues on behind the furnace and connects back to the coal dump area, which is how I intended it to be to give me a running loop, but a furnace duct passes too low to allow this and the switch back track will stub end in the wall as far as I can go. Instead the staging tracks that are located under the switch back will come back together and travel behind the furnace to form the running loop.

From the switch back the tracks will climb a slight grade to the car shop and foundry. There will be a spur on this slight grade that goes back next to the switch back to a coal mine. I am going to have a small earth loading ramp and dirt road on the mine spur where just about anything can be loaded or unloaded from railroad cars, like mining equipment, building supplies, and whatever else I can imagine.

The car shop will be the MC car shop located at Cliftop and it will be built to scale with full interior. The tracks around it follow the prototype pretty much to scale. Just pass the car shop will be a run around and a strip coal tipple, also built to scale from the MC's tipple at Cliftop. The strip tipple will be built to actual load coal into the hoppers. I am a little concerned that the tipple will somewhat block the view of the loaded hoppers but I may be able to work the scenery around it to make it work better.

Just past the run around tracks is the new wood engine house, also built to scale to match the MC's engine house at Cliftop. The engine house can hold two geared locomotives. And just as it does on the MC, there is a company store located at the end of the engine house spur. The company store will also be built to scale and have three stories above the road level in front with the scenery falling away to form what we would call a "walk out" lower level, which has a set of doors to allow the narrow gauge track to enter the basement for freight car to be spotted inside for unloading.

I know it seems like operation may be limited, but this layout was meant to be a test to see what I think of O scale narrow gauge modeling. I wanted to have it be a place for me to have some very detailed structures get a taste of this new gauge / scale. I would like to move someday to a get a larger modeling space and if I continue in this scale I can use the structures and scenes from this layout on the next. I made some changes to the room since my HO layout was torn down, one was the enclosure built around the furnace, that somewhat reduced the size of my layout space but will provide a nicer room to model in. I got very tired of the narrow aisles of my HO layout and I decided to run the layout only around the walls of the room to give the largest open space for people in the middle. I also wanted to make sure I had a running loop to be able to test and break in equipment, something I really regretted not having on the HO layout.

Well, that got a little long. I will be starting to benchwork soon, I am still doing the room remodeling. I did install the tracks behind the furnace already because once the walls are completed around the furnace because it was easier. I will be able to reach the tracks from one side if there is an issue but there was no way to install them if I had not done it first.

Jeff
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
jbvb Posted - 03/29/2020 : 11:03:52 AM
You're making a nice model of a model there.
Coaltrain Posted - 03/28/2020 : 10:35:00 PM
spent a little more time on the scale model of the layout. I was busy painting scenery. here are some new images. some of the glue and the paint was pretty fresh when I took these photos. there is still a little more to go yet, some areas are still in the planning stage. I am pretty happy with the structures around the Clifftop area, they are all uncompressed from the prototype, even that giant company store. it would have been fun to have a better view of the front of the store but that back is where all the fun happened.



before we get to the upper deck here are some things going on with the new lower deck. the first image shows the track down to area 1, which is based off of Sewell and the interchange with the C&O. I have recently came across a new photo of this area and there were many houses along this track. I decide to add as many houses along the tracks as I think I will be able to. the houses are not based of the real Manns Creek houses because they were a little bigger than these. The houses I modeled here were from plans I have saved for houses along the Clinchfield. I also have seen one of these houses in person in Blacksburg VA when I was visiting with Brian Bond.


I also painted some of the scenery around Area 3 to see how the new scenery was going to look, I am very happy I made the change to the lower track here.


the photo is of area 9. this is sort of a fictional area that would best be described as Manns Creek #7 mine area. I am playing with structures here. at first I was not going to have any homes here but now I think I might add some up on the hill so I do not have to model so much forest, but I am still undecided because there were no such homes next to tipple #7 as far as I know, however it was not far from homes so it would not be totally wrong to have some there.


now to the upper deck, first stop is the branch to what is a very fictional version of Landisburg. first off is the truck dump that I am adding, which I may turn into a small mine that the mine carts will dump right into hoppers. passing the little mine site there is a run around and a large tipple, maybe it would be like Manns Creek #5 tipple that was along Floyd Creek. this tipple i wanted to make large and have a coal storage silo (maybe). there was a silo at tipple #7 and maybe I will reserve that feature for that spot, i don't like to repeat things like that, I want all locations to be unique. Also you can see the different company store, this is just a test. this store is a compressed model of the Swandale store on the BF&G and plans were published in the Gazette. there is a spur that leads off to the drying yard and you can see all the stacks of trying lumber, there is also a single stall engine house.




last stop is area 6 and 7, which is my version of Clifftop. the elements are rearranged to best fit the location but they are not compressed nor are they mirrored. the only item i had to leave out was the single stall engine house that was behind the company store. there is also a mine that at area 6 that should really be past the company store. I really like how this area looks, the little train really works nice to show the sizes of the structures and the track to scenery ration. I like that the strip coal tipple is full sized and it is not tight up to the backdrop, which leaves room for the truck dock. I hope to make this tipple operational and actually load coal.






Coaltrain Posted - 03/25/2020 : 1:14:25 PM
thanks everyone. after making the first model of my future layout I found some areas that I did not like the way the scenery was going to work out, which was the reason for making the model. since all the benchwork was 3D printed I just made a few adjustments to the benchwork CAD model and reprinted them out and made a second model. I am still doing scenery on it and it is all still white clay, some of which is still drying. I will paint it all and add trees as I did on the first.

the main reason for the change was to add a little more space for scenery between the upper and lower tracks on the switch back in Area 3. the hardest part of 2D track plans is really knowing if the scenery will work out, and Area 3 was going to be hard because in this area the vertical separation is the greatest and there is very little horizontal separation. the first version of this model was ok, but I knew that if I just added a few more inches between the upper and lower track it would make a big difference.

here we can see looking down on the old version (in color) and the new version (still in white clay). I have added 4" more space between the two tracks.






you can see that the slope under the upper track trestle is a lot better.




while i was at it i decided to make some 1/24th scale On3 trains to add to the new model, so I 3D printed some simplified models (yet still to scale) so I can get a size reference. it worked out so well that I also printed some of the planned structures for the new layout model.


i also decided that I might as well make a scale model of my yard office diorama so I can figure out where to put it.


as i placed the model of the yard office model on the layout model (that's a lot of the word model) i could see that it sort of fits. i knew this was going to be this way as I was building the yard office but I wanted to build the scene close to scale and as it was, and i figured that would force me to get it to fit. as I placed the office scale model on the layout scale model i the place i figured it would fit the best I don't like it, it is too far away from the engine house compared to the prototype. if I move the office closer to the engine house you can see I have a bit of an issue with it hanging off the edge of the layout, however the aisle is wide here and I may be able to bump out the lower deck to get it to fit.




some of the structures for the upper deck (inside the mushroom) were 3D printed to be 1/24 scale of 1/48 scale models of the prototype (that's a lot of scales). i modeled them uncompressed to see how they would fit, even the Babcock company store is full scale, no compression, and it is a beast of a structure, four floors tall in the back.

here you can see the in progress on the upper level model with some of the structures placed and some of the little trains placed for reference, it looks pretty cool if I do say so myself.




Sully Posted - 03/25/2020 : 10:31:10 AM
Jeff, beautiful work! You've set yourself a "lifetime" goal with this railway with almost a "museum like" presentation.........(love the curtain idea)
BTW, The DL&W used that red/green trim in the early part of the 20th century. Over the years they simply repainted the green trim in red.

tom (now retired in Charleston, SC)
Sully Posted - 03/25/2020 : 10:29:32 AM
Jeff, beautiful work! You've set yourself a "lifetime" goal with this railway with almost a "museum like" presentation.........(love the curtain idea)
BTW, The DL&W used that red/green trim in the early part of the 20th century. Over the years they simply repainted the green trim in red.

tom (now retired in Charleston, SC)
vamodeler Posted - 03/25/2020 : 09:04:25 AM
Jeff,

Great work as usual! Love how it came out and really enjoyed your interior. Thanks for sharing your secret stash of Mann's Creek photo's. I'm amazed that the structure photo's exist at all.

Can't wait to see what is next.

Cheers,

Brian
Coaltrain Posted - 03/24/2020 : 9:48:24 PM
I plan on adding the light on the corner post. The railing post in both photos are the same location, the uneven post spacing is caused by some falling out, that photo was taken after the structure was abandoned and the RR shut down
quarryman Posted - 03/24/2020 : 6:29:36 PM
Canít help but notice the odd spindle spacing in the porch railing in the second photo, also the cool light at the corner.
I like the red and green color combo. The office building of an old stone operation I am researching was apparently yellow ochre with green trim. Definitely going to mock something up with those colors first to see how they look.

Mark
Coaltrain Posted - 03/24/2020 : 2:55:21 PM
quote:
Originally posted by quarryman

I see the front doors are standing wide open. Are they going to stay like that?

Mark



Those are not doors, I learned that those are screen doors. if you look at these two close ups of the front doors you can see that they are screens. from far away they look like five panel doors, but once I got better photos and blew them up I could see that they were five panel screed doors.

one thing that I found interesting is that before I had good photos of the structure I assumed it was red with white trim, which is how I first started this structure. After I got some better photos I could tell that the trim was a much darker color, ay source told me that it was red with green trim, so I changed my trim to green. then I got even more photos, one of which is attached here and it shows white trim again. the photo of the white trim was taken after the structure was abandon. I am not sure when there was a switch but the structure definitely had at least two different paint schemes. now that I know I should have kept mine red and white as this would have most likely been correct for the year I model, and also since I plan on the car shop, company store, and company houses to be red and white. I like the green but maybe someday I will change it back to white.





quarryman Posted - 03/24/2020 : 07:18:01 AM
I see the front doors are standing wide open. Are they going to stay like that?

Mark
railman28 Posted - 03/23/2020 : 1:53:53 PM
That came out really sharp.

Bob
Dutchman Posted - 03/23/2020 : 11:34:34 AM
The yard office is looking really good, Jeff. Thank you for giving us something to enjoy while we are all hunkering down!
Coaltrain Posted - 03/23/2020 : 10:58:02 AM
a few more progress photos. not too much to say about it other than "its getting there".






Michael Hohn Posted - 03/17/2020 : 6:42:51 PM
Beautiful work on your yard office. It looks real.
Coaltrain Posted - 03/17/2020 : 5:29:20 PM
small update to give you something to read during the quarantine.

the office if moving forward and starting to look like something. I have the roof on and the new porch installed. I have started the shingles, which I should have more time to finish now that I am working from home for a few weeks. I 3D printed a chimney and I have the base colors painted, it is not glued in place so I can do some more finishing work on it.

stay safe and good luck all.






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