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Louisville -and- Nashville RR (Hiwassee Loop Layout)

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  • Louisville -and- Nashville RR (Hiwassee Loop Layout)

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  • #2
    Hi All,

    I was asked by a member of this forum to design an N-scale layout based on Louisville & Nashville's Hiwassee Loop which ran from Etowah (TN) to Marietta (GA) via Blue Ridge (GA), and then continued on to Atlanta. While the layout may never be built, I thought it would be a good opportunity to document the process I follow when designing a layout based on a specific prototype, just in case someone wants to see how it is done.

    I all ready did a bit of background checking on the line, and it certainly would be a very interesting prototype to model. However, I must caution that I knew absolutely nothing (and still know very little) about the Hiwassee loop until Jon posted on my design thread. So this will also be a learning process for me as well, and I expect mistakes and errors to happen as the design is refined to its final form.

    Although Jon wants a layout based on Free-mo N-scale modules, I also want to design a separate layout that will fit in a room. I haven't decided yet what form these layouts will take, but I am hoping that I can design a home layout that will also incorporate the modules. Jon wants to model the line around Copperhill, and it may also include the Tennessee Copper Company tracks at Ducktown, and I was thinking about modeling the entire line Etowah (TN) to Blue Ridge (GA). However, it is much too early to decide any of those details just yet.

    Since my designs are only as good as the information I have accessible, my fist priority was to make certain that the prototype documentation required to get an accurate representation of the line was available to me. With that in mind, Jon was able to supply the 1931 track profile charts for the Atlanta Division, and USGS topo maps from the locations and era (1940s) he wanted to model, so that part of the planning process was done. Jon also volunteered to be my "go-to guy" for any questions I need answered about the line, and he has all ready started in that role.

    Now that I knew I have enough info to do a reasonable job on the line, I started doing more research and reading what I could about the L&N. Since it is always hard to follow along articles without a proper map as a reference to the locations when you're unfamiliar with a region, my next step was to find a system map and highlight the area to be modeled:

    Louisville & Nashville System Map (April 25, 1954):



    Much more to come ...

    Take care,

    Rob.

    Comment


    • #3
      And here we go. Its going to be fun.

      L&N nut Jon

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi All,

        The next step is to make a rough map of the line you want to model. It doesn't have to be too detailed, but should include the major stations, waterways, roadways, etc. The one shown below is just a first draft, and I will update and add to it as I review the information I have. The L&N mainline is in red, and so far the only connection I have shown is the Tennessee Copper Company railway (in blue) from Copperhill to Ducktown.

        Map of Line (circa 1943):



        More to come ...

        Take care,

        Rob.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi All,

          Now that we have a better idea of where the line is located, and the stations along the right-of-way, we start to take a closer look at the track charts and topo maps. You will find a lot of important information on the track charts, but the topo maps give a better idea of how the trackage actually looks.

          I generally use Photoshop to cut out each station on both the topo maps and track charts, and rotate both of them horizontally. In this case, I will orientate the maps so north is always to the left, and south is to the right. While I am not sure if Etowah Yard will be modeled on the final layout or not, that's where I am going to start and then head south towards Blue Ridge.

          Etowah Yard (Mile 0.0):



          Take care,

          Rob.

          Comment


          • #6
            Always good to see someone working on a Southern RR Rob!

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi All,

              The next step involves making a schematic of each station along the line using the information in the track charts and on the topo maps, and then labeling the diagram with what you know so far. Since this line is still in place, I was also able to use Google maps for reference as well, which has been some help.

              Although I do try to make an exact schematic of a location, when dealing with a fair size yard it becomes difficult, so this is where selection compression starts to come into play. The compressed schematic I created for Etowah yard is in N-scale, and covers an area roughly 4' x 25', which (I feel) is too big for a home layout, or a module. However, the schematic does have the general appearance of the actual yard, which is the most important goal.

              While the track charts offer some much needed information about the location, there are still many unknowns. For instance, the charts specify that there were two water tanks of 30,000 gallons each, measuring 16' x 24' high, however, I am not sure where they were located. It is small details like this that will require further research.

              Compressed Schematic of Etowah Yard (Mile 0.0):



              Higher Resolution Image

              Take care,

              Rob.

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:


                Originally posted by Tyson Rayles


                Always good to see someone working on a Southern RR Rob!


                Thanks Mike. After viewing the line on Google Earth and the limited views available on Google street view, I was quite impressed with the scenery. It should be an interesting layout.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi All,

                  The next section covers the 4 miles from South Etowah, thru Cambria Station, and to Wetmore.

                  South Etowah (Mile 0.8) to Wetmore (Mile 5.0):



                  Take care,

                  Rob.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi All,

                    This is where we start to add more compression, and scenic details to the line. Generally, each station must be at least one train length long, and I also like to leave a train length between each station. For these N-scale compressed schematics, I am making the mainline track at each station seven feet long, so the passing track is a bit shorter. I am also leaving about eight feet of "scenery space" between stations.

                    I look and both the track charts along with the top maps, and try to include as much line side details as I can. To save space, it is best to add these details as close as possible one after the other, and also to overlap them (if possible) to reduce the space even further. I also look at the track arrangement, and if needed, try to simplify it a bit as long as it doesn't hamper operations.

                    South Etowah (Mile 0.8) to Wetmore (Mile 5.0):



                    Higher Resolution Image

                    Take care,

                    Rob.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Rob;

                      If a person really likes modeling yards a set of six four foot long modules to make a 24 foot set sounds doable although four foot wide sounds cumbersome. Maybe the roundhouse could be on a bump out. I probably wouldn't do a large yard module set myself though. Your second drawing of S. Etowah to Wetmore already looks like a plan for a set of modules.

                      L&N nut

                      Jon

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Jon,

                        I have an idea for the Etowah yard that should fit in a 24" wide space in N-Scale. I just roughed it up to see how it looked (the yard has to be angled a bit to fit the space), and it might work. When I get to the layout design phase I will know more. Since the schematics are in a straight line, it should all look like modules. I am not sure which locations (outside of Copperhill) you see as a good choice to model, but you can pick and choose.

                        Take care,

                        Rob.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey Rob,

                          Just out of curiosity, is this the L&N Loop in your concept? If so, it just might be an interesting alternative to a hidden helix.



                          Sort of like an East Coast Tehachapi.

                          Catch y'all later.

                          Steve Flanigan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Steve,

                            Yes sir, that's the loop, and it would make an interesting helix.

                            Take care,

                            Rob.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Steve;

                              As far as I am concerned the Hiwassee Loop is the center of my interest in the line. The first time I hiked in the late 1980s I was blown away. It can be hard to model because the scale is so grand. I believe it as quite a bit smaller than Tehachapi, but to me the impact is greater because in the winter when the leaves are off the trees you can stand on the tracks at the downhill entrance and look up the mountain and see the track above and the trestle above that all in one sweep.

                              L&N nut

                              Jon

                              Comment

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