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Crew Chief

Posted - 09/25/2011 :  9:06:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the Eastern Shore Railroad in HO. Many were nice enough to follow my Eastern Shore Railroad in N gauge and that thread explains why Iíve moved to HO, but for those who may not be familiar with the prototype a brief overview.

The Eastern Shore Railroad (now the Bay Shore RR) is a 65-mile shortline that runs from Pocomoke, MD, to Cape Charles, VA with a car ferry that crosses the Chesapeake Bay and terminates at Little Creek, VA just adjacent to Norfolk. The railroad has an interesting history and was once part of the Pennsylvania RR system. I wonít go into the ESHRís story, however, it is available in the book, ďThe Eastern Shore RailroadĒ by Chris Dickon (available through Amazon).

In recent times the ESHR has struggled to survive facing bankruptcy on more that one occasion. Yet the single-track right of way still carries freight up and down the MD/VA eastern shore today. It is the combination of the Eastern Shore mystique along with a personal attraction to the railroad that I established while in the Navy making the occasional trek from Naval Air Station Norfolk along Rt 13 to visit family in Philadelphia that created my desire to model the operation. Iíve photographed the ESHR since 1983 and have visited the entire right-of-way, so I have a lot of visuals to assist me.

I have taken some license in my trackplan as I have included Willis Wharf as a destination (Map below). The real ESHR never served the town, however, for operational reasons and aesthetic reasons Iíve taken modelerís license. Iíve included my trackplan below and welcome comments.

Operations would start at Cape Charles with a consist just off the ferry. Passing Cheliton and using the entirety of the loop counter-clockwise to simulate distance the train would pass Exmore, Willis Wharf and Cape Charles prior to switching the first destination, the Exmore Granary. Again going around the loop, the next switching moves would occur at Willis Wharf. Finally, after another trip around the loop, the destination would be the passing siding at Willis Wharf that simulates Pocomoke. The train would then reverse direction and repeat the sequence backwards copying the once a day Cape Charles to Pocomoke and return run of the prototype.

I had originally planned on building my railroad using Proto 87 standards and had already completed 3 highly detailed turnouts. However, the possibility of a future job opportunity that might include a move changed my thoughts for two reasons. First, scratchbuilding the turnouts was exceptionally time consuming and I want to (finally) get some trains running. Second, I did not want to run the risk of laying the turnouts and the hand-laid track and risk damage to the trackwork with the possibility of a move looming. Instead, Iíve decided on Code 83 Walthers turnouts and Atlas flextrack.

Iíve included some pictures of my Proto 87 turnouts and my weathered Walthers turnouts and flextrack. Iím curious what Forum members think about the differences and down the road whether it would be worth the significant extra effort to go Proto 87. I really have always believed that realistic trackwork was one of the major factors in satisfying my desires to watch a train up close and not be distracted by plastic ties and large rail so it will be a difficult decision should I start over.

In my next post, Iíll show some pictures of my progress.


Proto:87 Switches

Comparison of Proto:87 and Walthers Code 83

Atlas Code 83 Flextrack: new and weathered

Country: USA | Posts: 613


Premium Member

Posted - 09/25/2011 :  9:27:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I like your turnout. A club I was in moved several biggish pieces of a layout that used hand-laid track and used them in the next layout. I got another piece of the club layout; it's now half of the city of Bexley on my B&M Eastern Route. And I built a bunch of hand-laid turnouts on Hub Division modules, which get moved all the time. To successfully move all or part of a layout, you need to design modularity and transportability into your benchwork, your roadbed and your track. If you build on 3/4" plywood, ensure that your sections can get in/out the door and ensure that your roadbed/benchwork joints aren't under switches, that's 80% of it. Most of the rest is using terminal strips for your wiring, arranging your framework to protect your turnout mechanisms, and not using your fascia or backdrop to support segments of scenery you want to preserve - it needs to be tied to the roadbed and benchwork instead.

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Premium Member

Posted - 09/25/2011 :  10:27:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave, it's great to see you start another project. Welcome to the world of HO. Knowing what you did in N scale, I can only imagine what we are in store for here! Can't wait to see your progress.


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Crew Chief

Posted - 10/02/2011 :  11:05:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
James/Mark, thanks for the feedback.

Itís amazing the progress that can be made using commercial track instead of hand laid. Perhaps for the first time in my model railroad life Iíve sledged the golden spike although no official ceremony occurred. With the exception of the Cape Charles yard, my trackwork is in place though the wiring is just two leads right now.

Iíve been able to test the layout with a new sound-equipped Athearn GP-9. Iíve already succeeded in one of my goals - being able to slowly run a sound equipped train without worry of dead spots although I will have to wire the Walthers turnout frogs to account for the slow speed running and 4 axle locos.

Next step is the dreaded wiring that will include leads to all track sections and tortoise switch machines with DCC decoders. Following the wiring, Iíll tackle a low, one-foot high, backdrop along the wall with the window and the Exmore to Cape Charles wall.

Wonít be much visible progress over the next few weeks, but after the wiring and backdrop, Iíll build the trestles that will cross the marsh between Exmore and Willis Wharf then hope to move on to my first structure, the seafood complex at the wharf. Iíve included pictures of the progress so far and a sketch of the Willis Wharf Seafood Company located in ďClam TownĒ (the drawing doesn't show the passing siding that I added at Willis Wharf)

One technical correction; I mistakenly noted that the Eastern Shore RR is now called the Bay Shore RR. The actual name is the Bay Coast RR.

You can refer to the track plan in my first posting as the pictures move counter-clockwise from Cape Charles to Willis Wharf.

Cape Charles Area

Cape Charles to Exmore (the Exmore granary will be in the far corner)

Exmore to Willis Wharf

Willis Wharf Sketch

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Premium Member

Posted - 10/02/2011 :  11:28:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great progress Dave. I especially like your use of what appears to have been a closet. That will make a nice area.


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Posted - 10/02/2011 :  12:08:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good looking layout, Dave...based on what you accomplished in N, this is going to be a good read...keep the posts coming!

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Crew Chief

Posted - 10/07/2011 :  02:07:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave. I like what I'm seeing so far. I will stay tuned to your progress. Excellent weathering on your track.

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Posted - 10/07/2011 :  09:22:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Good to see the Eastern Shore alive again. The overview photos of its environs indicate that it will be a fun and relaxing place to model.

For living so close, I know very little about the Eastern Shore Railroad. Whenever we go to Assateague for the weekend, we make a point of visiting beautiful downtown Parksley. Well worth checking out.

Looking forward to following your progress,

Mark Chase
Richmond VA

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  8:26:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very nice. Brings back memories. I lived in Pocomoke City from 1970 to 1984 while working a NASA Wallops, Spandar Radar. My oldest daughter was Little Miss Pocomoke, 1972. I use to bicycle down by the old station area a lot. Use to love to see the freights wobble down the rails.


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Crew Chief

Posted - 10/12/2011 :  9:54:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks for the comments. For a somewhat isolated part of the country, it's amazing how many people I've met here that have some tie to the Eastern Shore in one way or another.

As always, thanks for your interest. I think it will take me about the same time to complete one small area of my layout as it takes you to build an entire steel complex. Wish I worked at your pace.

Mark - with a bigger room, the Parksley town square would definitely have been on my list of places to model. I wonder how many visitors/year go through the rail museum?

It's an honor to have an Eastern Shore celebrity's father keep track of my progress. Wobble is a good description of the train, but it does add flavor to the operation. Must have been very interesting to work at the NASA facility.

This past week has been spent on wiring and I'm in the process of coding my Wabbit switch machine decoders. Not the easiest process. Hope to have all switch machines and wire leads done by next week. Also will work on some mock-ups of some key buildings.


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Tyson Rayles

Premium Member

Posted - 10/13/2011 :  08:24:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good luck with the new layout!

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Crew Chief

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  11:13:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A lot of work with not a lot to visibly show. I've been under the benchwork wiring all track sections to the main bus and connecting switch machines and decoders.

As a diversion I cut some foam building mock-up to get a 3D feel for Willis Wharf and the Exmore granary. I should finish the wiring within the next 2 weeks and then comes the fun parts - scenery and structures. I've ordered Troel's DVD since my Willis Wharf scene has the same flavor as his Coast Line, but also to gain overall knowledge from the expert.

My favorite part - running trains and superdetailing will be a bit down the road, but at least I'm over the benchwork and wiring tedium.

First few pictures are of Willis Wharf and last 2 are of Exmore.

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Posted - 11/12/2011 :  11:44:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From start to completed benchwork and wiring in three months....not too shabby! My personal opinion is that while super detailed track work is a true visual treat to behold, I doubt that most spectators give it more than a momentary glance before their eyes are drawn to the buildings, scenery, or rolling stock. Nicely colored and weathered commercial stuff resides in the background and helps reinforce the overall aura of realism. Your backdrops make me want to go grab a raincoat....LOL.

As far as working at my pace, a lot of that is very deceiving; none of my stuff is as nicely detailed as yours...I tend to "broad-brush" everything in order to appease the need for instant gratification, then go back later when the mood and patience level is right and add slowly things.

Keep posting, Dave!

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Premium Member

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  11:56:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very nice. Love the look of those turnouts.

On your trackplan-is the liftout the Bay-Bridge tunnel? Ha!

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Posted - 11/12/2011 :  2:25:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Great progress. I like what you have done so far in such a short time. An observation. Better batten down the hatches for a nor'easter is coming! (at least I observe that from your dark cloudy backdrop)

Bill Shanaman
New Haven RR
Hartford Division
in Colorado.

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Premium Member

Posted - 11/13/2011 :  08:17:23 AM  Show Profile  Send akimmons an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Great progress, Dave. I like the Wharf sketch. Is that a storm a-brewing on the backdrop?

Arnold Kimmons
General Manager
Royal and Edisto Railroad


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