Author Topic: Modelgenic shortlines  (Read 7053 times)

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Dave V

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Modelgenic shortlines
« on: October 28, 2010, 12:35:14 PM »
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I thoroughly enjoyed Dave Foxx's thread on modeling the Aberdeen and Rockfish.  It got me to thinking about some of the more model-genic lines I've been tempted by.

The Durham and Southern is one such line that ran through Apex, NC, a neat little town I had the pleasure to live in for 3 years.  Of course, today it's all CSX and NS, but still very busy.  The D&S interchanged with the SAL in Apex.  Atlas offers a D&S locomotive in N scale to boot.  Gotta love it.  The D&S served a number of industries as well as providing bridge traffic between SOU and SAL, including lumber, tobacco, and other agricultural products.

Harkening back to my narrow gauge days, I fell in love with the standard gauge Colorado Midland.  They put an amazing amount of traffic over the Continental Divide, and the railroad only died because of USRA traffic re-routing.  The Athean re-run MDC steam locos and turn-of-the-century equipment would suffice, and the tight curves and steep grades (4%) of the CMRy scream model railroad.  Through freights (bridge traffic from D&RG and AT&SF), locals, passenger trains, mine turns, you name it.  I would love to model the segment from Leadville over Hagermann Pass to Basalt.  That was the heart of the railroad, and included two separate routes over Hagermann Pass, both of which were used at various times.

Many of the more model-genic lines from a visual perspective that I love are very short on operations.  The Bellefonte Central, for example.  Great scenery, great equipment, but boring ops.  Same for the M&PA.  You'd have to take some liberties to do the Ma and Pa in N scale, but the forthcoming Bachmann 4-6-0 would be a big help.  Yet, not much to run.  That's why I quit modeling the Rio Grande Southern back in 1995; one D&RGW 3000-series boxcar looks like another, and running one steam train twice a week with Galloping Geese in between just doesn't scream "variety."

I read something in a locked thread on the A-board bashing folks for choosing obscure lines and then complaining about availability of products.  Unless you're Kato, you can't possibly call the Pennsy "obscure," yet look at how much Pennsy stuff is NOT available in N.  Paint, decals, styrene, and Squadron putty exist so that we can make what we can't buy.  Yet, as much as I love Pennsy, I am often tempted to model a small line like Dave Foxx is doing so I really could get a handle on it.  With Pennsy or Conrail, I can either try to capture a small part of it or just try to capture the essence of the whole (which is what I've done).  I'm just a little jealous that Dave has been able to find an interesting prototype with available equipment, the total essence of which can be captured in s small space.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 12:38:08 PM by Dave Vollmer »
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wm3798

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 12:49:08 PM »
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The genesis of my Laurel Valley was exactly that... a modelgenic short line.  It's a semi-free-lance affair utilizing some actual rights of way, with some imagineering to connect them.  The primary source of revenue is coal, so assembling a fleet can be reasonably straightforward.

Another good one would be the Maryland Midland, which runs through rural areas in Carroll and Frederick counties in Maryland, with one major shipper (Lehigh Cement in Union Bridge) and a DPM-worthy city at Westminster that could be fluffed up to add some switching interest and urban scenery.

In either case, a free-lance approach can make for interesting mixes of motive power, traffic and scenery.

This type of operation frequently drifts through the back of my mind, particularly when I'm feeling overwhelmed by my gigundo WM layout.

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 01:01:12 PM »
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But modeling the MMID would be similar to the EBT. It's pretty, it's got cool equipment, but it's just a conveyor belt.

Ops consist of "pickup cars from Lehigh Cement, deliver to CSX, return". Not bad for a solo gig, but I feel that it'd get boring quickly.

I think there's a minimum of industries and "jobs" that make something modelagenic, simply adding in a few non-core industries (like a lumber yard and plastics plant) to the MMID make it a good bit more "rich". It means that now you might have meets where the local job needs to get out of the way of the cement job, will need a little bit of yard work (these plastics cars go to Highfield, these go to Emory Grove), etc...

However, they all lend themselves nicely to display type layouts (like the shelf). In fact, the shelf will end up looking a lot like the MMID. Hmm... anyone got those new SD24s they want to come play with?

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 01:07:08 PM »
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Back in the late 70's, Robert Schleicher did a track plan for the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern, which was abandon in 1947.

I've often given thought to modeling that route because in its heyday of the teens and 20's, it did haul some longer freights from central PA into central NY state.  

The thing that stopped me was the lack of N-scale supported equipment representing that era... Especially the hoppers.  

One of Tony Koester's buddies, Perry Squire, who's PS&N was in "Great Model RR's..." did do the line in HO scale and had to scratch-build a terrific amount of equipment in order to make it worse.  N-scale would be many times worse.  

One challenge I had with doing a short-line as my primary modeling attraction was the lack of long trains.  Most short-lines just don't have them– And I do like seeing a longer freight on the layout.   So the next best thing for me was a main deck that featured a class one and then a second deck that feature a short-line.  

sizemore

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 01:20:03 PM »
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But modeling the MMID would be similar to the EBT. It's pretty, it's got cool equipment, but it's just a conveyor belt.

Ops consist of "pickup cars from Lehigh Cement, deliver to CSX, return". Not bad for a solo gig, but I feel that it'd get boring quickly.

I think there's a minimum of industries and "jobs" that make something modelagenic, simply adding in a few non-core industries (like a lumber yard and plastics plant) to the MMID make it a good bit more "rich". It means that now you might have meets where the local job needs to get out of the way of the cement job, will need a little bit of yard work (these plastics cars go to Highfield, these go to Emory Grove), etc...

However, they all lend themselves nicely to display type layouts (like the shelf). In fact, the shelf will end up looking a lot like the MMID. Hmm... anyone got those new SD24s they want to come play with?


Actually you'd be surprised. In the mid nineties, there was some stone traffic originating out of Westminster. From reading the G&W the MMid commodities also include, coal, chemicals, bricks, food, forest products, and feed.

So with 1 industry modeled per commodity you already have some substantial fun for a shhhmedium sized layout (something twice your layout) and maybe some point to point with thru traffic. And you can throw in a dinner-train or WMRHS excursion for fun!

And yes there are three MMid SD24's that are hanging out at the BYR shops for "new electrics"  ;)

The S.

Ps. I'm still a big fan of Steve doing SODOR mining company....
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 01:35:56 PM by sizemore »

Ian MacMillan

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 01:20:45 PM »
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For me it would be the New Hampshire Northcoast, once sister railroad to AVR in Pittsburgh, PA. The railroad operates the southern end of the former B&M's Conway Branch from Dover to Ossipee, hauling gravel from the Pike Industries (Owned by Castle Corp) pit to interchange with PanAm at Dover to be brought to Boston Sand & Gravel located just north of North Station in Boston, MA. They also haul propane to Rochester, NH for Eastern Propane, and steel to Ossipee for MacFarlane steel in Fryeburg, ME. Its all single track with a few very short passing sidings. Trains are on average of 30 cars, and at one point when Bostons Big Dig was going on, 80 cars.

The railroad started in the mid 1980's with 8 former Conrail GP9's and B&M 70/100 ton hoppers. It now rosters 1 GP9, 1 GP18 (Former New England Southern) and 2 GP38-2's (former Conrail).

The line is very scenic as it travels from NH's seacoast, through the lakes region, and to the White Mountains. There are several steep grades andy  the scenery is awesome. The only thing is that the traffic is very limited, about 2-4 trains a day. The railroad was created for one purpose and that was to move sand to Boston, and the railroad is owned by the pit owner, Castle Corp. The other stuff they haul now is just because it came along. They dont actively seek outside customers. In Rochester there used to be a large wye where the Farmington branch, and Gonic branch me the Conway branch and there were some industries served there, but most are gone, and the Gonic and Farmington branches were pulled up when NHN abandoned them in the 1990's. Castle did put NHN up for sale a few years ago at a very good price, but there were no buyers (we thought about it at NEGS but at the time we were owed quite a bit of money from PanAm and it was not feasible)

I had thought about modeling it at one point, but the lack of traffic was a big put off. There was plans to model it in HO with the whole basement being just Rochester so it could be done to scale and that would have been interesting. I still have thoughts of what I could have done with it in N, probably modeled it as if NEGS had bought it (we would have pushed for as many new customers as we could) or if Rochester industries had more demand for rail.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 01:34:17 PM by Ian MacMillan »
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Dave V

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 01:27:26 PM »
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Ed brings up a good point.  One of my "if I had to start over" fantasies would be an On30 EBT-inspired freelanced Pennsylvania narrow gauge line.  But, much like the prototype EBT, operations never varied.  Loads north, empties south.  Coal and gannister rock.  AND, the equipment is pretty bland.  Mikes and steel hoppers.  At best you could do the standard gauge car on narrow gauge trucks like the EBT for variety.

The Winchester and Western would be a decent modern-day line to model.  I'm thinking of the segment around Martinsburg.  You have the CSX B&O main to connect with as well as some decent online industries.

My Penn State heritage would lead me to investigate the Nittany & Bald Eagle as a prototype, but its two largest State College customers (Centre Daily Times and Owens-Corning) quit some years ago.  After all, newspapers and cathode ray tubes have gone the way of the vinyl record.  They do have a lot of mineral traffic though, although that may get monotonous.

Two very possible modern-day regionals begging to be modeled are the Reading & Northern and the Delaware-Lackawanna.  The R&N has branched out beyond coal (like the new Yuengling Brewery), and the D-L seems to do some great bridge traffic.  The all Alco-nature of the D-L makes it especially attractive (and challenging).

I don't see myself selling all my PRR and CR any time soon as I'm still having too much fun with it.  But it's fun going through the mental exercise of "what if," because you never know when new opportunities will arise.
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m301

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 01:46:50 PM »
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Dave, recently I considered moving to Apex. Most of my family has left NY, and I wanted to be in a Railroad town.
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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 01:50:07 PM »
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Anyone consider the New York & Atlantic?  In case it doesn't sound familiar, NY&A runs on Long Island.
Basically, NY&A is doing the work Long Island RR used to do, but hopefully a lot cheaper.
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Mark5

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 01:57:25 PM »
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To be honest there are times when I envy peeps that model roads with lots of easy peasy equipment to get off the shelf (so to speak) in N scale but that's not what I want, and part of the fun for me is making the models I can' get but ...


When I daydream I sometimes think it'd be cool to:

*model WM Union Bridge up through the Catoctins into Hagerstown
*recreate the Weverton Branch of the B&O
*model Feather River Canyon
*BN Rockies helper district in the 70s
*some Anthracite road circa late 60s

Arrrgh, the list goes on and on - I find I like a lot of railroad environs. ::)

But I've been single minded about N&W for the most part - it's my first love (train wise).

Mark

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 04:36:57 PM »
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But modeling the MMID would be similar to the EBT. It's pretty, it's got cool equipment, but it's just a conveyor belt.

Ops consist of "pickup cars from Lehigh Cement, deliver to CSX, return". Not bad for a solo gig, but I feel that it'd get boring quickly.


IIRC, the MMID has quite a few online industries ..

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 05:16:02 PM »
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The Battenkill Railroad, which runs from Eagle Bridge NY to Greenwich NY rosters 2 RS3s and runs through some awesome scenery. The line hugs the Battenkill River for much of the route, and there are numerous river crossings. The headquarters are located in the old station in Greenwich and the station in Cambridge is also still extant. Traffic consists mostly of grain and fertilizer to the Agway facilities with several smaller customers also serviced.

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 05:47:18 PM »
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When I lived in Plano Tx. These guys were all over...

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 07:13:58 PM »
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I like the TH&B. Small road with a big feel, and though it wasn't classed as a shortline in it's time, it would likely be today. I'd look to model it in the 1970's as the era of independence drew to a close as CP took over. It's Welland - Hamilton - Brantford - Waterford (all in Ontario) route is compact enough to model either in part or whole, while it provided some legendary grades (to local fans anyways) up the Niagara Escarpment out to Hamilton (heart of the TH&B, major industrial center as traffic generator) both east to Welland and West to Brantford and an active branchline off the Welland main to Port Maitland, a major destination of phosphate rock, IIRC.

There was a good mix of originating/terminating traffic from Hamilton (steel products from Canada's two largest mills, manufactured goods, chemicals, National Steel Car was served by them) as well as bridge traffic, primarily on the Welland - Hamilton line, as it formed a critical link between the NYC/PC/CR in Buffalo and CP in Toronto, cities where TH&B power often strayed. From the late 60' into the early 80's it was not uncommon to see NYC/PC/CR power on trains CPBU/BUCP between Frontier Yard in Buffalo and Agincourt Yard in Toronto, locales that TH&B power worked to on a regular basis. CP power was a daily sight on TH&B's Aberdeen Yard in Hamilton, as was their Dayliner RDC into the 1970's.

Diesel Roster (all available in N):
7 x GP7
3 x GP9 (torpedo tube dual service units)
4 x NW2
4 x SW9

Freightcars:
Slab side covered hoppers (not available in N)
Cylindrical covered hoppers (available RTR)
Gondolas (MTL has done them, though likely not accurate)
40' steel boxcars (again, MTL does them)
50'ish flatcars (MTL one more)
70T offset hoppers (soon to be RTR from Bluford Shops)

Other thoughts would be the Arkansas & Missouri, mainly because of the all ALCO fleet, and the CB&CNS back in it's early days thanks to the all MLW fleet.
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Bob Bufkin

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Re: Modelgenic shortlines
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 07:35:38 PM »
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I have thought about doing the P&LE more than once.  Lots of interesting industries, steel mills, rolling milles, coal mines, etc and commuter trains.  Runthrough with WM and B&O trackage rights.  This is the type of layout that wouldn't look out of place on a shelf.  If you did the right time period you could also have EL passenger traffic.