Author Topic: Vermissa Valley - PRR 1960s  (Read 32384 times)

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Hornwrecker

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Vermissa Valley - PRR 1960s
« on: January 06, 2013, 09:31:43 PM »
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Since I first found this forum and lurked for awhile reading the Layout Engineering threads, it inspired me to look again at my layout and make improvements to the trackwork for better operations. 

The title of this is based on the location of a Sherlock Holmes novel "The Valley of Fear", the only one which took place, in part, in the USA (NE PA), which might or might not be appropriate for my layout.  It started out as a 2.5'x4' trackplan found in an old RMC (I think) that featured two loops, one which climbed over the other to a coal mine, and then came down a rollercoaster-like grade to a passing siding with the lower loop.  Fear inducing, indeed.  The radius on the lower loop was 9 3/4"  and the loop on the grade was tighter, with an over 6% grade.  This was built on 1 1/2" Gatorboard with the upper one out of 1/2" almost 20 years ago, out of code 80 track.  I got some more Gator board scraps and added a stub ended, 5 track yard and two track engine house to the front of the layout.  Parts of the original layout and yard can be seen  below:



After I got bored with this, and wanted to make more scenery, one of my favorite things about MRRing, I added a 4'x8' sheet of foam to the right side of the layout, double ended the yard, added a return loop that connected to where the original upper loop came back in, and made a switching layout on an extended wye plan on the new upper level.  (No photos now, since my camera went FUBAR yesterday.)  I did add in a two track passing siding in the lower mainline tunnel for staging that has access to the back of it. 

After deciding that the new body mounted coupler cars that I bought, didn't want to make it around the last part of the original mainline, 9.75", I got out my Japanese saw and started hacking away at the scenery.  I was able to increase main radius to 16", increase the two track staging to about 7', and enlarge the branchline radius to 13" and reduce the grade to manageable levels.







Since I had some foam left, I added some onto the back staging area, and added three stub tracks around 5.5' long, and added some more on the front, to the left of the yard and engine house to square off the odd shape there.

More later.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 03:05:13 PM by Hornwrecker »
Bob

Hornwrecker

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 09:44:28 PM »
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The bottom level and yard is PRR, from 1960-67.  Looking around for some area of the Pennsy that would come close to what I already had made up, I found that Buttonwood yard, near Wilkes-Barre, PA matched my scenery and part of my yard design. Lucky for me!

Link to Buttonwood page on the CNJ in PA page:

http://www.gingerb.com/cnj_hudson_to_wilkes-barre.htm

Trackplan of Buttonwood yard,large image:

http://pennsyrr.com/kc/maps/images/Buttonwood1.JPG

And a not to scale diagram of my yard; planning to add a representation of the Wilkes-Barre Connecting RR to the left hand side.  Still have no idea of how it will be arranged, or how many tracks: 5-6?  I threw in the CNJ going off, which is a long reversing loop that comes back to the PRR main, disguised as a passing siding going towards Sunbury.



Red is the existing yard track, and the yellow indicates where the future part of the WBCRR (D&H) will go.  Any ideas on how to design the half yard?  The lower track that went to the former enginehouse will keep going straight to the edge of the layout.

I had a decent photo mosaic of the yard assembled, but my camera totally crapped out, so you get this crappy Photoshop guesstimate of the track layout.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 09:54:51 PM by Hornwrecker »
Bob

John

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 08:25:01 AM »
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Thanks for sharing .. looks like it will have some good potential ..

PAL_Houston

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 11:10:58 AM »
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I love layouts that change and grow over time!  Interesting narrative.  I hope you'll keep us posted on the evolution as you finish out this version.

Regards,
Paul
Regards,
Paul

Dave V

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 11:26:59 AM »
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Indeed!  I like a model railroader who isn't afraid to change out track and scenery.

Maybe I'm just being lazy and not searching, but did you at one time post your overall layout track plan?  If this is going to be your standing layout report it might be convenient for folks to see it posted here.
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Hornwrecker

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 11:56:36 AM »
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I haven't posted a plan yet, Dave.  I was planning on doing a photo-mosaic by lowering the layout down, taking lots of close to overhead images, and photoshooping it all together, but I won't have my new camera until this weekend, I hope.  I was going to use that to draw the trackplan in a layer over it.  Barring that coming together in time, I'll break out the graph paper and drafting gear.  I tried starting a plan in one of the track planning programs, but trying to locate the existing positions of the switches and getting it all connected to how it really is proved too much to learn in a short time.

One big problem I've noticed is that the crossover from the main to the branch/end of the yard at the W-B end is facing the wrong direction, a left hand turnout, where a RH one would make much more sense, and improve ops.  This is an artifact from the original 3x4.  I guess it's time to break out the shaft tool with a cutoff wheel, again.  Should have noticed that before I put in the new mainline curve.  It looks like it won't be too much major surgery to get them in, with no change to the main, and only a slight realignment needed to connect to the branch to the upper level.

Since this part of the layout is all foam, with a 2' x 8' frame  out of 2x4s, put under the whole layout when the 4x6' foam major expansion was attached, it is really easy to lop off a section and attach another hunk of foam.  I use a hot glue gun, then pound in sharpened 1/4" dowels to hold it in place.  There are a couple of other small additions not shown yet, done to improve ops.  The layout is kind of amorphous, with the shape of the layout dictated by the needs of the track and scenery.

Thanks to my track gang of one, Joey Uboats, for remembering the track plan the original section was built from: the Buckley and Ornaca, from a 1966 issue of MR.  Glad I didn't have to dig through that huge stack of old mags to find it.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 04:21:18 PM by Hornwrecker »
Bob

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 03:23:56 PM »
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I found a copy online in a pdf file, of the original Buckley and Ornaca RR plans, from a 1966 MR.  Glad I didn't have to search through the mountain of moldy magazines to find it.



This is how I reworked the plan to fit my ideas for a NE PA mining RR, with a switchback to the mine with two tracks at the breaker.  I crawled under the layout to measure the size of the original piece of Gatorboard, and in measures 2.5' x 4', amended it in the first post of this thread.



The yellow square at bottom indicates the area that still exists of the original layout that is the start of the yard on the now current north (Wilkes-Barre) end of the yard.  The LH turnout to the lower level switchback is what goes to the CNJ interchange/reversing loop.

Looking at that switch arrangement, I can't redo it into a LH crossover without the dreaded ESSES, so it will have to stay and give the crews an impediment to deal with.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 03:30:59 PM by Hornwrecker »
Bob

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 06:10:48 PM »
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Fixed the top level a bit to reflect how it was.  The turnouts at the top, which looks like a triple switch going to the mine, should be a LH and then a RH.   I think there was a RH crossover from the main to yard track #1, towards the right hand edge.  Pretty damn big yard for a little layout, the yard extension added measures in 11" x 5'.



This gives a better picture of how the north end of the yard is, compared to the line drawing earlier.  All the turnouts are Atlas Custom Line (4.5s?), code 80, as not much else existed when this was built.
Bob

DKS

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 06:23:15 PM »
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I found a copy online in a pdf file, of the original Buckley and Ornaca RR plans, from a 1966 MR.  Glad I didn't have to search through the mountain of moldy magazines to find it.



That is one of my all-time favorite plans. Only trouble is... it's almost unbuildable as drawn, requiring some outrageous grades, and the arrangement of sidings make no sense in places. Still... it takes me back to a wonderful earlier time when I was just getting started...
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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Hornwrecker

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 07:19:37 PM »
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I found that out when I started laying track, the lower level got simplified, leaving out a few switches.  The upper one was ridiculous.  The left side grade came out to about 6%, and the right hand side grade was probably over 10%, and I don't even remember what the steepest grade radius came out to be, something like 6-7", since the lower level ones were 9.75".  I should have left out the right side grade, and made it straight for another switchback to the mine.  Of course looking back, I should have scrapped the whole thing instead of adding the yard, since using the grade as a drill track was almost useless, limiting the amount of cars, something like five that the old RS-3  could handle before the grade got too steep.  It's not like I don't have the room in the basement, at the least 18' x 12' could have been used, but I have to see if I can improve the rollercoaster.

Here's a photo of the old left hand side grade, from the upper level; turnouts to the mine at the left.

« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 09:49:43 PM by Hornwrecker »
Bob

Hornwrecker

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 04:54:43 PM »
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Got my new camera today, still trying to figure out what a lot of the "intuitive" icons mean.  Here's an overview of what is currently in place for the yard.  It measures 11'4" with another foot of track on the left where the drill track continues.  The area on the left is where new yard trackage is going to go, to make it look more like Buttonwood, representing the connection to the D&H via the Wilkes-Barre Connecting RR.  (Hmm, guess I could have made that image a bit bigger)

(I added a weird shaped piece of foam on the left edge, about 18" long to square off the area. Last weekend while I was enjoying a cool, refreshing Scheissewasser from the brewery on the upper level, I noticed that the this newly installed piece of foam didn't look right.  I put on a piece of flew track and a MT car, and it took off rolling to the right towards the yard throat.  (Somehow screwed up when pounding in my sharpened dowel.)  Joey Uboats, ever the wag, called it the Polish hump yard (both of us being of that ancestry, found this highly amusing)  Foam now leveled awaiting a track planning session.)

The track going off on the bottom will be the new, and spartan engine facilities.  I think I'm finally done with plastering and rock molds, so I can start painting the rockwork to get the plate girder bridge installed.

Also, need to start thinking about a DCC system, as figuring out the time and cost of wiring up this yard, it will be about even with converting most of my locos.  NCE or Digitrax?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 04:56:50 PM by Hornwrecker »
Bob

DKS

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 05:01:31 PM »
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Here's a photo of the old left hand side grade, from the upper level; turnouts to the mine at the left.



Holy rollercoaster, Batman!
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

Hornwrecker

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 07:56:30 PM »
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The is that part of the layout today: bridge moved out 16", and about 24" added to the rollercoaster to reduce grade and open up the radius.



That unballasted code 80 sure looks huge!

Started painting the rockwork, remembered to leave things lighter than I want them to be, putting in various colors to denote some statigraphy,  and then after numerous sprays with a black wash, it should turn out. 



The colors don't really show up yet, but much better than stark, white plaster.

Bob

Hornwrecker

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 03:25:29 PM »
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An overview of the new north side of the upper level, bridge was gooed down and track placed from the mine to the edge yesterday.



This is the so far, unseen south side of the upper level.  It is based on an article in the Nov 1962 issue of MR: "A railroad terminal that you can model".  In it there's a track plan of a wye on the Reading RR's Newton Branch, which I flipped and added a few more tracks. (I'd scan it, but it done with a kind of dark green background that I don't think will show from a B&W scanner.)



With the track drawn in, since much of the track doesn't show well in much of the above image. The length of this from the tunnel portal on the right (red track) straight to the left hand edge is 6'6".



I'll have to put the buildings back, and retake the photos with the industries labeled.  Not sure if another RR should thrown into the mix with most of the blue trackage from the bottom wye leg.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 03:27:25 PM by Hornwrecker »
Bob

PAL_Houston

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Re: Vermissa Valley
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2013, 06:05:15 PM »
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I like your approach to layout photography.  Kind of reminds me of Google-Earth!  :D
Regards,
Paul