Author Topic: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale  (Read 33786 times)

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nscalemike

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Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« on: May 19, 2011, 02:21:40 PM »
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I've been reading a lot on here over the last few months and after posting a bit over on the N scale side and all the great feedback I've been getting, I decided I will try with a long-term layout post.  I'm certainly one whose interest has peaks and valleys, but this site always has something new, some great work, and keeps me motivated to do more as well, and I'm hoping this little topic will keep pushing my skills to a new level!  I'll share some of my visions for my current layout now and over the next few days/weeks, I'll try and get some photos and sketches up to help fill in the blanks.  Any thoughts or suggestions will be welcome and soon I'll be soliciting help on some trackwork design, more to come on that later! 

We recently moved to a bigger house and one that we expect to be in for a while.  The house was advertised with a "bonus room" which when my wife saw the ad she called and stated "I've found our new house, it's got a bonus room for your trains."  That was about the end of this purchase discussion!  The room is located off the garage, approximately 8' X 20' and insulated.  I put an air conditioner in, painted, new carpet and new lighting prior to starting construction. The room had to hold all my modeling activities, so I have a 6 X 6 L shaped desk in one corner, that leaves me about 14 X 8 foot area for the layout.  I didn't have room for a center peninsula, and I wanted something around the walls, so I have a simple O shaped.  But I wanted more, so up we went.  In one corner I am building an double track helix, which will connect a total of three levels.  The top is staging while the other two are scenic areas.  I will also have a separate branch line that will run over my desk area and will be about 8 X 8 L shape as well. 

The layout is based I what I see everyday.  It's Illinois Central trackage, which is now owned by CN.  I'm modeling approximately 2005, the year I moved here.  Sticking with this year because you would see an almost equal amount of CN, IC, GTW, and WC.  The main line backed up to my 'office' so each time I saw a train coming by you had no idea what the power would be.  (Now, it's mostly all repainted to CN, except the new EJE purchase. I'm also going to try and stick to late September/October.  I like the early fall, I hate the heat, and grain traffic is in full swing. 

nscalemike

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2011, 02:32:32 PM »
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Part II:

The track plan in words goes like this:  You run from staging down the helix to the bottom level.  You immediately come to the yard area.  It's a decent size yard but not classification type big, more division point type maybe.  Through trains don't stop here unless there is a crew change or they have something to drop off for any of the on line industries.  The train then continues through some midwesternly scenery on the other side of the layout, and back into the helix.  Trains travel up to level two, and pass the unnamed grain complex.  This may also produce ethanol, not sure yet.  It continues around to the other side where it meets up with what probably will be the UP.  The CN/UP share trackage rights through the second town, the last scene before you enter the helix again.  You then ascend up to the third level/staging yard and end your run. 

I'll also run a local from the first level yard to the second level town.  Here, it'll switch out the industries and the UP interchange yard.  It'll also leave cars that are destined to go to the branch which goes out over the workbench area.  The local then returns to the main yard when it's work is complete. 

This is only the vision.  I have about 90% of the first level track down now, including the yard area.  Nothing on the second or third level is done yet.  I also have no experience with operation, but have been trying to read everything that I can on it.  I'll try and post photos over the weekend that will add the visual aspect to what I'm trying to type now!  I'm excited and hope I can keep up with the quality that others here have displayed here!

Thanks for reading
Mike

Scottl

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 05:52:17 PM »
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It sounds like an ambitious plan, but I like the theme!  Looking forward to pictures.

Cheers
Scott

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 02:38:24 AM »
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Great to see such enthusiasm.  Keep the updates coming.

-Gary

P.S. I'm really impressed how many layout blogs are starting to populate this board.


nscalemike

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 04:30:29 AM »
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No photos yet, but I did do a quick sketch of the layout tonight so I thought I'd post it.  I don't have any track planning software, I've tried a few but never had much luck with it.  I'm one of those guys who sketch some ideas on paper and then kinda 'plan as I go'.  Sorry it's a little rough, but should give you an idea what I'm working with.



Each square represents 6".  The main layout is 13' X 7'6" and the second level will have the extra branch.  The lower level track is almost all in, everything except the engine facility and the car shop.  Mainly I'm still brainstorming what I want to do with those.  The yard works, as much as it looks crammed in here.  The shortest track is 60" long, and there is 6 body tracks total.  It's double ended, but the main operating end is the left.  That side has a much longer lead, the right is basically just long enough for an engine escape to run around back to the engine facility.  Also, the left side is designed that blocking can continue as a trains move on or off the arrival/departure track (third one in.)  The opposite side of the layout has the main running through the country side.  It crosses over an interstate, then a creek, passes an abandoned branch line (now used for car storage) and then into the helix to climb to the second level. 


The second level is a work in progress, as evident from the big gap.  More to come on that soon.

Mike

nscalemike

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 02:54:16 AM »
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Well, I promised some photos and I finally had an opportunity to take some.  Then I realized I really don't have much to photograph yet.  So here is what I have:

The beginning of my helix, outside track is 39" dia, inside is 36"


The left side of the layout.  The first level track is in, the second level will be a modeled town, third is staging


Looking at the opposite end from the helix.  The bottom right is my yard area, specifically my engine facility in the making


Looking back toward the helix.  A view of the yard on the bottom level.  The second will by rural midwestern scenery and the top is still staging


A drop down gate on the lower level, in the up position


The gate in the down position


Outside the layout area is my messy work area, needs cleaned up from my locomotive detail project I just finished.  Eventually there will be a branch line over the desk here

James Costello

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 03:21:28 AM »
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Looks like a nice set up Mike.
James Costello
Espee into the 90's

nscalemike

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 03:32:02 AM »
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My goal for this month is to get my helix complete to at least the second level, maybe all the way to the third.  When I get to the second level, I will start working on the main line for that area.  As I mentioned earlier, when I exit the helix the first thing I come to will be the only isolated on-line industry.  I am thinking either a grain complex or an ethanol plant.  I would like to use the buildings to help hide the 180degree turnback from the helix out to the wall.  Then it's strictly scenery along the long wall to give some feel of open mainline running.  Next up is where I'm stuck on my design and looking for some serious input:


Drawing of the area in question

What I have in mind is something similar to the latest project railroad in MR.  I really like the look and feel of the operating session that the displayed in the video series.  What I imagine happening is to take a train from the yard up to the town.  I will drop off or switch industries in this town, and return back to the yard.  I also wanted to get an interchange in there, so I am putting a 2-4 track staging yard behind my future branch line.  That will enter the layout from the top left, opposite from where the modeled main line curves from the right.  What I imagine is the lines will share trackage through the town and enter the helix on the opposite side of the town.  That way I can stage one direction on level three and the opposite direction on level two, and share the same track almost all the way.  Inside of the town, I want some sort of interchange yard, a passing track for the main, an industry or two, and then a way to enter the branch line which is seen in the lower left corner.  I don't need a lot of industries, as the branch line will be strictly for switching, but I don't just want another yard either. 

I see this as being the busiest place on the layout, between the CN main line trains, the interchange run through trains waiting for clearance through town, a CN local, and the interchange local coming to drop off/pick up cars, and the branch run leaving and returning, I see this as having a steady flow of traffic.  Since I model the modern era (2005), the industries need to be more modern and larger then a boxcar.  I'm also not looking for a switching puzzle, but rather something that has modern realistic feel to it. 

I'm pretty much open to anything but there is a few things I just can't change.  First, the bench work dimensions are set.  I can go slightly deeper on both legs if need be (1-3 inches probably) but no longer.  Second, the main has to curve out to meet with the helix to keep everything running in the right direction.  I have a little play in the exact curvature to meet it, but it will be close to the same as on the first level.  Third, to maximize my branch run, I have to go through the back drop on the lower left.  Exactly where doesn't matter just in the area.  The branch will run up on the opposite side of the backdrop then curve left, but that's in the future.  Fourth, the interchange trackage has to come through the backdrop on the upper left, from the opposite direction of the modeled main.  Everything has to be Atlas code 55 track, #10 turnouts on the main unless I just can't fit it, then it has to be at least #7. 

I know it's ambitious and I don't know if it will work, but I'm hoping with all the great ideas that float around on here someone can point me in the right direction!!  If anyone is up for the challenge, I'd love to hear from you!

I know I have had two very longs posts back to back.  Thank you very much for reading and all your support and ideas!
Mike

Scottl

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 11:06:45 AM »
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That is a great set up Mike.  Thanks for sharing- keep us posted.

nscalemike

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2011, 05:07:48 PM »
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Sitting with the MR plan in front of me, I attempted to copy and make the changes that I need.  This is not to scale as I don't have a track planning program.  Any thoughts if this would work/fit.  Any ideas that will make it flow and operate smoother?

Thanks, Mike

Dave Schneider

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2011, 05:42:37 PM »
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Mike,

I have used the free Atlas track planning software to check out my sketches of yards to see if they fit. If you are more of the let me look at this at full scale kinda guy, photocopies of turnouts work well, as well as printed turnout templates from Fast Tracks. http://www.handlaidtrack.com/Fast-Tracks-N-Scale-Printable-Track-Templates-s/95.htm
I haven't compared these to off the shelf turnouts, but they are probably pretty close.

Best wishes, Dave
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

DKS

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2011, 06:41:28 PM »
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Be happy to take a crack at it in AnyRail.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

nscalemike

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2011, 08:26:40 PM »
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Be happy to take a crack at it in AnyRail.

David,  if you wouldn't mind I'd love to see your ideas,  as ns david said you have some very impressive abilities with this.

I've tried the atlas program from time to time, I just can't ever seem to get it figured out.   I usually just plan as I go, but I really want this area to be prototypical and well planned out. That's half the reasons many of my previous layouts have failed,  poor track design.

Thanks again,
Mike

DKS

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2011, 11:23:46 AM »
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OK, this is more or less a straightforward rendering of your "idea" plan. I dropped one track from the industrial area to keep it from getting crammed, and added another connection to the staging yard to form a wye, as this might enhance ops options. Mostly this is just to establish a baseline for further development.
 


black - mainline
blue - interchange yard
red - industrial
orange - branchline
green - staging leads
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

nscalemike

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Re: Illinois Central/Canadian National in N scale
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2011, 03:04:52 PM »
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OK, this is more or less a straightforward rendering of your "idea" plan. I dropped one track from the industrial area to keep it from getting crammed, and added another connection to the staging yard to form a wye, as this might enhance ops options. Mostly this is just to establish a baseline for further development.
 


black - mainline
blue - interchange yard
red - industrial
orange - branchline
green - staging leads


I this is a great starting point.  I had a couple of questions about it.  What are the turnout used in it for one.  Second, is the long curve to help maximize the lengths of track or did you feel that would look better?  Third, with the elimination of the third industrial track, would it be a problem to still keep the one adjacent to the main as a passing track, then use the second one for temporary car storage for the branch and two industries.  I was planning on the third just as a run around track, but if it doesn't fit then obviously I cant fit it in there. Would it be unrealistic to use the passing track as a runaround as well?  I was thinking of tying the locos up for this area at the end of my red lead. 

Again, thanks a lot and I feel I made a very big leap with this plan!  I will also entertain any ideas that anyone has about it!

Thanks, Mike