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Author Topic Next Topic: Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad
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Premium Member

Posted - 02/06/2020 :  08:59:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Actually, quite amazing. A long way from a paper and pencil sketch followed by a mock-up made from a cut up cereal box.


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Posted - 02/13/2020 :  9:26:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i finally finished printing all the lower level benchwork. i printed out a plan of the layout and glued it to some cardstock. I glued a second print to more cardstock and cut it out like roadbed. I am using air hardening clay to plan out some scenery ideas. you can see in Area 3 where the tracks were too close together horizontally to be able to create logical scenery so I extended the upper deck more and created a mini shadow box on the lower deck. this is the only area where the two decks are visible from the same aisle. will have to make a tunnel here to create the transistion from one deck to two.

i will build the room walls in area 3 and then add the backdrop, after that I will be able to work in the scenery in this area and see how the transistion from area 4 is going to work out with the lower overhead clearance from the deck above.

so far I like how easy it is to play with the scenery using the clay, I just can keep pushing it around until i like it, which will give me a much better idea when it comes time to do it full size.

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Posted - 02/13/2020 :  10:59:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very clever design and pre-build testing process, which will no doubt provide excellent vision of what the final full size effort will look like, especially with all the terrain forming being now. Less time should be wasted now when it comes to committing to sharing scenery on the real one because all the trial end error has been well tested in miniature, and if it doesn’t look right now as a test piece, it’s easier to change a few spots of clay than a large section of scenery. Fascinating to watch and enjoy this project be developed.

Dan Pickard


Country: Australia | Posts: 1344 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 02/14/2020 :  06:34:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A fascinating build. thanks for tracking the progress.

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Posted - 02/14/2020 :  08:06:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks everyone.

i finally finished all the 3D design for the benchwork as well. i was stalling on the last segment because it required me to go out in the shop and measure up the old section from the original SCRy that I saved, it figures just as I needed to go measure it we get an arctic blast of cold air and the temps were -15 deg F. i did it though and I got it in the model and figured out how to connect it. The track on the old section swings out a little farther than I was planning so I may either try and modify it when get that section installed, or if it seems fine I will just leave it and adjust the benchwork to fit.

so far I am figuring that I will install all of area 3, 4, and 5 first once I start building in the room. that way I can get the grades all set and tested. I will need to lay the track in area 4 first because it has the worst overhead clearance, its not bad to operate but it would not be that fun if area 9 was installed on top. after the track in area 4 is laid I will install area 9 over it and tie area 9 to area 5. After that, I will will move over to the other side of the room and build the two platforms at area 8 and 6/7, then I will work my way across and install area 1, then 8, then 6, then 2, and lastly area 7. working in that order will keep the center of the room open as long as possible to bring in lumber and modules.

here are the last views of the 3D model.

here you can see how I am connecting the existing section (under the mine) to the sawmill drying yard and to the extension to area 5

this is the area that looks like it might be tighter than planned, its not bad but it is below my minimum that I was trying to keep.

here i added some more people to see how they are all going to fit, it looks really nice, the mushroom design is really working out well to keep each area open feeling, even that area at the sawmill looks very comfortable.

this is the sawmill drying yard and mine area at Area 8. Brian Bond (Deer Creek & Laurel) had a great idea to eliminate the mine here and make it all a sawmill town, which is a great idea, and maybe i would do that, but at the moment i want to go with the plan to reuse the mine from the original layout here, but we will see, maybe once I run it a while I may consider doing what he suggested, it is very tempting.

here is looking into the area 6/7 part of the layout. i am considering hanging a curtain across the opening into the area to close it off even more and eliminate the ability to see area 5, just to add more isolation and keep operators from knowing exactly where other trains are and what they are doing.

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Posted - 02/17/2020 :  06:32:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I spent a little more time with my model model railroad. i added more scenery in Area 3 with air hardening clay, then I did a quick and dirty paint job to be able to see it better, the stark white clay is as bad as fresh plaster scenery, and even a cheap paint over is better than the glaring white.

anyways, the scenery really makes a big difference showing the areas that will be ok, and the areas that I may want to consider changing (if I can).

here are some images of the area that I will be modeling.

when standing in Clifftop looking over the Manns Creek valley, toward the New River, it looks like simple rolling hills, however those trees really do a good job at camouflaging the ruggedness underneath.

back in 2014 Brian Bond and I walked the old right of way from Clifftop to the junction (about 2 miles). you can see that under those trees lie vertical rock faces and steep sloping terrain. Having Brian in these photos give a good scale reference.

here Brian is walking along one of the many areas that the rocks on the mountain side were right up against the trains.

I like the following photo because it shows just how narrow of a ledge the prototype ran on, also I like how Brian's head and line of sight show you how steep the land falls away from the tracks.

in some areas the MC used stone retaining walls (just like a model railroader would) in areas where the slope was just too steep.

in two more areas on the prototype it almost seems like the real railroad was using a trick of a model railroad. there were two vertical rock faces that the prototype had to curve out away from, to do so they used wood trestles, one rock face trestle just crossed land below and was named "Dry wall" trestle, the other rock face had water seeping out which formed a tiny stream at its base, this trestle was named "wet wall" trestle.

here is dry wall trestle.

its hard to see where the trestle was so, I indicate it here in red.

this is the rock face of dry wall trestle.

wet wall trestle to this day still has water flowing out of the face of it. Also, the remains of the trestle can still be seen collapsed at the base of the rock face.

here are the remains of the trestle.

my goal is to recreate this area and the feeling of being "in there". I may have areas that have patches of trees between the operator and the train to show that the train is "in the woods" and not running along a park like edge of the trees. I will keep the trees thinned out so the train can be seen. in those patches I will make the section of scenery lift out to access the track and trains behind if needed.

when I look at those rock faces the detail I see is lots of vines and brush. just before I moved I was experimenting with creating rocks like this. Now, looking at the following model photos in the same thread as the above prototype photos it looks like I came pretty close, hopefully I can remember how I did it and recreate in on a larger scale.

Edited by - Coaltrain on 02/17/2020 06:46:01 AM

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Posted - 02/17/2020 :  06:59:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ok, now for the model model photos.

the scenery looks a lot more rugged than it will look on the real model railroad, the trees and shrubs will help smooth it out some. you can see on the right side of the image above the horizontal separation to vertical separation is pretty bad, which is why I had to go to a second deck sooner that I originally planned, which will require a none prototypical tunnel to make the transition. here you can see where I am planning one of the rock face trestle to help with the horizontal separation issue. one thing to take note of is that the base of this model is not the floor, it is the bottom of the benchwork, the lower track is about 54" off the floor and the upper track is just under 72", so standing in the Area 3 cove the operator will be looking up at the train on the upper track, which will mean that only a sky backdrop will be needed here, which I may need to consider coping across the ceiling as well.
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/coaltrain/202021765052_layout print 21.jpg

I will have some more images later this week of other areas. I am currently printing the upper deck. the scenery on the upper deck will not be much of a concern. the upper deck represents the top of the Appalachian plateau, streams will be low relief cutting through just some rolling hills and trees.

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Michael Hohn

Posted - 02/17/2020 :  3:58:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You’re putting a lot into drawings and models of models, but a complex multi-level layout like what you’re planning requires such careful work. Each space is going to be a unique environment where a person could almost get lost. I wouldn’t want to get lost in the actual New River region. You’ve done a good job capturing the look of the massive sandstones of the New River Formation.


Country: USA | Posts: 7582 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 02/18/2020 :  08:06:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote

How long do you think it will take a train to get from the tipple scene through Area 3 to the upper level?


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Posted - 02/18/2020 :  1:49:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by quarryman


How long do you think it will take a train to get from the tipple scene through Area 3 to the upper level?


that's kind of a hard answer, but this is my guess. if a shay travels 10 mph then it will cover 10560" per minute. since my shays can run at prototype speeds, and I measure the distance from the dump trestle to the strip tipple (area 7) as 1248", I come up with 8.46 minutes running full speed from start to finish and with no stopping for direction change. However, since trains start out gradually (we hope), and stop gradually, throw in the speed reduction for going up the grade and the change in direction at the switch back, I am going to guess the time may be almost double, or at least 150% more.

so I guess the short answer is 14-15 minutes. and if you throw in that going down grade will take longer because you have to account for swapping the locomotive and caboose at the switch back run around. My guess is that i could take one actual hour to make a round trip and do just a little switching. When I tell the local modelers that I am designing the RR for "one good run" they don't really believe it because it does not look like much work, but the main line form area 2 to area 7 is 104' long and I am running Shays, that is a long run.

just imagine going like this for 104', this video was only 8'!

I was just thinking about possible operating scenarios this morning, one idea I had was to run longer coal trains from Area 2 to Area 7 when I have more than one guest over. the switch back is sized for trains of 10 hoppers, a loco and a cab. if I run 12-14 car trains then I can use two people to move the coal train from area 2 to area 4, then reassemble it at the switch back for the run to area 7. the first crew could leave area 2 with a big Shay and push 10 empties up the lower leg of the switch back, then pull up to the run around and wait. A second crew could leave a small Shay, pushing a caboose and pulling 2-4 more empties up the lower leg of the switch back. this short train could either tack add itself to the rear of the longer train and run as a pusher, or it could at its empties to the longer train and tack on the caboose, then return light back to area 2. I could just run two short trains but I don't have enough cabooses, of course I could make more but maybe that would not be as fun, i guess we will see ;)

Edited by - Coaltrain on 02/18/2020 1:53:45 PM

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/18/2020 :  1:54:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Mann's Creek RR is one of my favorites. A while back I made an online map of the railroad. For anyone interested: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1xT4OtKUkby4kT1Won3OxxfRTOV2YRRkN&ll=37.98572293418859%2C-80.99122764899545&z=13

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Posted - 02/19/2020 :  06:23:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That map you made is really fun to look at, thanks for the link.

i did a little more work on the layout model. i have almost all the pieces for the upper level printed. I am going to glue the upper level pieces to a sheet of card stock like it did for the upper level. Originally I was thinking that I would be able to set the upper level on top of the lower level but the model will be stronger if I keep the two level separate.

the one area of main concern was going to be area 3 and 4. the biggest concern was going the be the clearance below the area 9 as the trains leave the switch back run around, here the grade is climbing and my 16" deck separation has shrunk down to only 9" at the very worst, it is about 11" at the run around. the deck separation looks really bad when I put the two models together so I built a little train (to scale) to have something to relate to in the images. Also keep in mind that the track elevation at the run around is 62", for me that is just below eye level, the bottom of the upper deck here is just at my forehead.

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Posted - 02/19/2020 :  07:58:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote

If I am looking at your plan correctly, it appears raising Area 9/climbing a grade from Area 5 is an option. That might gain you some more vertical separation.


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Posted - 03/11/2020 :  07:36:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been "distracted" by some non RR thing, not much progress on the three projects I have going on.

first, the yard office. the roof is constructed and all lights are installed, next will be shingles, trim work, and chimney. after receiving better photos of the prototype I saw that my porch was built wrong, so I built a new one and I am in the process of removing the first one I made. I also found out the stone base was not exactly correct so I am building a new base. I think I am getting close to wrapping it up, just a few good nights of work and it should be there.

second, the layout scale model. I finished printing all the upper level sections and started gluing them to the base. I also decided to build a new lower level model. I did not like how close the lower curve in area 3 came to the upper curve. I separated the upper and lower track 4 more inches, which required widening the bench work by 4 more inches and all the layout benchwork sections for area 3 had to be reprinted. I also redesigned the switch back (area 4) at the drop gate end and I raised the backdrop 2", which will raise up area 9 2". I will now have 13" of clearance at the point were the upper leg of the switch back goes under area 9, which was an area of most concern. I finished printing all the new sections and I will be constructing a new model with new scenery soon. The decision to make the change is the very reason I created the scale model, I didn't want any disappointing surprises and set backs when I construct the actual layout. I hope with all this effort in planning my construction of the actual layout will proceed much faster and make up for the lost time while I wait for the room to become available.

here is a short video I made of the old lower level before I decided to make the changes.

Third, the Shay project. I received actual Lime drawings for all three of the Manns Creek Shays from the California State Railroad Museum. Before these drawings I was just using corrected photos to estimate dimensions, which I was surprised how close I came on some. with the new drawings I am creating more accurate 3D models of the parts I am going build. for now I am just making basic parts to work out how the pieces will be broken down into subassemblies and how they will be attached, after that I will add all the details. the plan is to case all frame parts and boiler details. The boiler and cab will be built up from photo etched parts.

here is #8 new planning model

Edited by - Coaltrain on 03/11/2020 07:57:34 AM

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Posted - 03/17/2020 :  5:29:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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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