Author Topic: Building the Beer Line in N Scale  (Read 34317 times)

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Dave Schneider

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Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« on: June 08, 2011, 03:04:39 AM »
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Hello all,

I have decided to join in the fun and start a dedicated thread on Building the Beer Line in N Scale. The Beer Line was locate on the north side of Milwaukee, and was arguably the most profitable piece of track on the entire system. At its peak in the late 1960s to early 1970s, it served the Schlitz, Pabst and Blatz breweries, in addition to a large volume of business from American Motors (body plant), tanneries, box companies, lumber yards, cement, and pipe loads.
 
My decision to model the Beer Line stems from my desire to recreate the industrial past of my hometown. For many years houses, industry, and taverns were located in close proximity. Now most of the industry is gone, but the houses and taverns remain. I have decided to take a different tack on modeling the Beer Line by not modeling the end of the line and the breweries, but instead recreating a section of the middle portion of the line (shown by the red rectangle below).



Here are links to a 1970 airphoto that shows Gibson Yard
http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll290/djs_ank_ak/BBL/GibsonYard_August1970.jpg

and the main line.
http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll290/djs_ank_ak/BBL/GibsonYard_to_LocustSt_August1970.jpg

North is to the lower right in these photos.


This allows me the chance to run the long Beer Trains, transfer runs from Muskego Yard to Humboldt Yard that usually ran 100 cars or so, 2 or 3 times a day. I didn't want to deal with switching these monsters, and wanted the opportunity to just watch the trains run (hard to do if modeling the end of the line). I also wanted some switching ops, so I decided on a stretch from Gibson Yard south (towards the breweries) for a mile or so.

I have 4 feet by 15 feet in the garage to use and decided on a simple oval, with three spurs for staging. This is being built as modular sections, with 2- 2x6 foot sections on each side, and a 2x4 foot curved section on the ends. This will allow me to relocate to a bigger space if life allows it. See below.



Transfer trains will come in from North Milwaukee staging, and proceed counter-clockwise. They will drop cars at Gibson Yard (American Motors parts mainly plus cars for the other industries), then continue through the industrial/residential area (on the bottom of the plan) before continuing on to Brewery staging. A local job will operate out of Gibson and switch American Motors (to be located adjacent to the yard), the local industries, and cars for the Snake Track industries (to be modeled later).

My first module has been built out of birch plywood, and generally follows the Mod-U-Trak standards. It covers the area around Holton Street. Here is the Bing Maps view showing the area. I am currently building the Milbrew building (on the left side of the image), and have shared progress reports on this from time to time.



Here is a crop of the plan showing this module in more detail.



Well, this is probably enough for a start. Thanks to those who have made it this far, and I welcome any comments or critiques.

Best wishes, Dave





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

nscalemike

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 05:37:32 AM »
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Dave,  Thanks for sharing!  I have seen some of your posts ref the building you are working on.  I'm not very familiar with the beer line or its background, so thanks for sharing some of that info also.  Is this the same line that MR did on its project layout a few years back?  I really enjoy these layout reports and looking forward to seeing what you do next!

Mike

3DTrains

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 10:24:01 AM »
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What a terrific subject for a layout! I'm not familiar with the area, but your map indicates to me that any part of it is a natural for modeling. Thanks for sharing, Dave. I look forward to seeing your progress.

Cheers!
Marc

mcjaco

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 12:32:56 PM »
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Really nice Dave! 

As an alum of UWM, I wish I had been more cognizant of the area when I was there.  The only thing I remember is being awoken to them dmeolishing one of the huge grain silo just south of Whitefish Bay.  What a rukus! 

Dave Schneider

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 01:19:28 PM »
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Thanks Mike, Marc, and Matt.

Mike, yes this is the same line that featured in the 2009 MR project layout. They modeled the end of the line from Humboldt Yard, through to Schlitz and Pabst. I had to think really hard about not doing Humboldt Yard. This was a great spot and Walthers produced the Yard Office IN N SCALE!!! I would like to model Humboldt at some point in the future and attach it to current plan at the point labeled Brewery Staging. Here is a photo of Humboldt from my collection.



Matt, I understand the issue of not be cognizant in college....The Beer Line meant something completely different to me back then!

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

S Class

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 09:30:09 PM »
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This is a really nice plan I like how everything is at an angle to the layout edge, gives a great feeling od space even in a small area, hope you like building houses though  ;D
Regards
Tony A

Dave Schneider

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2011, 12:40:02 AM »
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Thanks S Class. The angled street crossings and the many odd shaped buildings really appealed to me. It is crazy to think about all of the long trains that transited through all of those houses. I (think) I enjoy building structures, and the houses are easier because they are mostly rectangular. It should be a fun project.

One thing I wonder is whether I will have trouble with the proximity of the end curves to Gibson Yard. The minimum radius is 14 inches and I will use easements to ease the transition.

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

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2011, 01:34:46 AM »
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This is a neat concept with lots of atmosphere; I look forward to seeing your progress.  I may have missed it, but are you including the two staging areas (N. Milw. and Brewery) in this build?  Are you planning to do much switching in Gibson yard?  If so, you might want to work in a yard lead and maybe even a wye, for operational flexibility.  Others more experienced than I should weigh in though.

Cheers,
Gary

Dave Schneider

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2011, 01:55:04 PM »
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Gary,

Yes, there will be two staging areas that I haven't drawn yet. The main portion of the layout is an island with good access on all sides. I am utilizing pallet rack I got off Craigslist for $25 and the modules will sit on top of them. Here is a shot of the rack in the garage.



This was an economical solution and by having the rail height at 52 inches or so, I have room underneath for garage stuff. The foreground is where my wife gets to park her car, and this is the side with the Holton Street module. North Milwaukee staging will be detachable, unless my wife wants to give up parking inside..... On the far side of the layout island is an is a 36-inch wide aisle and then another row of pallet rack along the garage wall for more storage. The Brewery staging will be across the aisle and likely detachable as well for access to storage items. Finally the Snake Track staging will be to the left of photo above on a shelf over my workbench. This is a very cool industrial area and I may attempt to model part of this in the future. But to start, it will just be staging. Here is a link to an air photo of the Snake Track....I know that Tom Mann likes this place as well. If you like angled and curved buildings, the Beer Line is the place for you!

http://s291.photobucket.com/albums/ll290/djs_ank_ak/North_of_North/?action=view&current=SnakeTrack_August_1970.jpg

As for Gibson Yard, there wasn't a switching lead here so I an not inclined to add one. They did do a fair bit of switching, primarily for American Motors (4-6 times a day), but mostly just stayed out of the way of the Beer Trains. As I mentioned, there were 2 or 3 each day/each way. These transfers ran at set times as a new job was called so the yard jobs just stayed out of their way. I don't now how these were dispatched (and I don't know very much about this facet of operations). They may have run with Yard Limit rules until reaching North Milwaukee which had CTC (I think).

Here is a shot of American Motor (beyond the school buses) after the plant closed. Gibson Yard is at the top and Downing Box, another large shipper is on the far side of the yard. Both of these industries will be relocated along the backdrop that separates the two sides.




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

sirenwerks

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2011, 08:18:17 PM »
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That's a great choice of locale to highlight not only your excellent structure building skills, but also to show off your rolling stock achievements. I hope some manufacturer kicks out an N scale H10-44 soon; it would be the perfect workhorse for you. I look forward to seeing the layout progress, as well as more structures and fulfillment of the reefer project.
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

Dave Schneider

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2011, 12:15:30 AM »
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Thanks Bryan. I really want to create a railroad that looks like an actual place and not a Walthers catalog. So far I have about 2 1/2 square inches complete. My reefer project got delayed by buying the Silhouette cuter. There just isn't enough time to everything I want and need to do, but I just dug the sides for the reefer out today from the pile on my workbench. As for motive power, yes, I could really use a good FM switcher. This was the standard power on the line. Once I get to the point of running trains I will use some modified Trix shells (lengthened) on the VO-1000 chassis until something better comes along. As for the Beer Trains, this will be fun because there was great variety in what was used. FM road switchers, F-units, Geeps, pretty much whatever was handy.

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

sirenwerks

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2011, 09:45:36 AM »
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Once I get to the point of running trains I will use some modified Trix shells (lengthened) on the VO-1000 chassis until something better comes along...

Not having kept up with H10-44 modeling, is this a best practice kitbash? is there an article out there that outlines the process? I too would like to have a pair of H10-44 just for sport and, unfortunately, don't have much faith in any manufacturer releasing one anytime soon. So I'd be interested in kitbashing a pair.

Having said that, if any manufacturer's going to release a H10-44 it's probably going to be FVM; as a companion to the new caboose and its box cars.
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

Dave Schneider

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2011, 05:10:37 PM »
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Not having kept up with H10-44 modeling, is this a best practice kitbash?

Bryan,

Not so much. This will be a "trailing edge" kitbash that uses a couple of 30+ year old shells cut up and glued together to produce a late model H12-44. The Milwaukee had 10 or so of this style (without the roof overhang) and they showed up on the Beer Line from time to time. Here are a couple at North Milwaukee:
http://s291.photobucket.com/albums/ll290/djs_ank_ak/Beer%20Line/?action=view&current=NorthMilwaukee_1969_sm.jpg

This is as far as I have gotten...and it was done in Photoshop!



Actually, I have sliced some apart, just not glued them together yet. Model Power was blowing them out at $1 a shell so I have 20 to play with. I also have 3 or 4 old Trix mechanisms that I will plop  $1 shell on and sell them on eBay.

Hoping the FVM or Atlas will produce a nice FM switcher in the future, but I am not getting any younger!

Best wishes, Dave



« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 05:19:38 PM by Dave Schneider »
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Dave Schneider

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 01:17:53 AM »
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Hello all,

Time to dig out this thread and provide an update regarding recent developments. I have recently acquired this lovely portable building and had it moved to my property. It measures 10'-8" by 19'-0" on the inside, and is insulated, wired for heat, lights, and outlets. It hasn't made it to its final resting point at my house yet, as I need to wait until the snow melts to get it where I want it. That should only be another couple of months or so! In the mean time I have been cleaning it out and getting it ready to paint the interior.



Here is the view of the interior.



All this new real estate dedicated for my exclusive use brings to mind many possibilities. Here is what I have come up with so far. The building has two windows on each long side and the door is centrally located (shown in red). I plan on blocking the windows along the long wall opposite the door, and use a removable bridge across the door opening.



My desire is to have a long loop along the perimeter of the room, so I can run through transfer trains, known as "Beer Trains". Staging for these will likely be along the left wall of the plan, and they will drop and pickup cars at Gibson Yard. I am not overly happy with the geometry of Gibson Yard, as I have a hard time drawing curving yard tracks.

I am a bit worried that I am biting off too much railroad at this point, and/or that I am too literal in my track planning. I have a hard time with selective compression, and may not be using the space in an efficient manner. I do want to have some space in this room for my workshop. The rail height will be somewhere around 50-55 inches above the floor, so there will be some space underneath.

I am soliciting comments and suggestions for how to improve this track plan. I am using Anyrail to lay this out, and would be happy to share it with whomever is interested.

Best wishes, Dave
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 01:20:29 AM by Dave Schneider »
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Philip H

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Re: Building the Beer Line in N Scale
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 09:06:55 AM »
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Dave,
If anything you may be in a position most of us envy - that chance to do your preferred prototype without much of any compression!  Based on your prior posts it looks like you have all the elements you were looking for in a layout, so I'd so don't worry about efficiency, and go for it. The workshop will fit nicely in the lower left corner of the building (as shown above), and there's even room for a comfy chair for reading and TRW surfing.
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

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