Author Topic: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)  (Read 4584 times)

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rswinnerton

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Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« on: September 25, 2011, 08:34:31 PM »
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Figured I'd put this on here so I could blog my progress. Thanks to the  :ashat: on here, I've decided to dabble in some N scale. It's actually painful to admit because during my cleanup session today, I figured out I have about 6K$ in HO scale locomotives. I think what's drawing me to N is the ability to do some neat stuff on a Hollow Core Door (HCD). Thats the plan for the Jacks Industrial. My origional plan involved 3 HCDs, but I think I'm scaleing that back to one. Sometimes I tend to get carried away with things like this and I really want to do the HO thing on a grander scale and keep the N to a HCD and maybe a 2X8 module.

My basic plan (please feel free to provide feedback) is set in 1978-1980 timeframe, which means plenty of PC patchouts, fresh CR blue and some neat older equipment. The basic premise is that this is one of the short industrial tracks abandoned by CR in the early 80s so it's kinda crooked and weedy. I plan to segment the door into 2 sides. One side will be the rural section with connection to the CR main (and/or another 8' module). The other side will be an old industrial section of town (tight curves, old brick warehouses, street running, etc) I'm planning to have a skyboard seperate the two. This gives me the chance to do the roundy-round thing or maybe some switching, whatever suits my fancy at the time. I'd also like to be able to bring it to train shows (maybe).

Power will be DCC (Digitrax SuperChief 402D duplex wireless), track will be Atlas code 55. Tortoise switch machines that run off a small dispatcher's panel and give LED feedback as to the switch's position. I was going to try PanelPro, but I think toggle switches will be more fun for this. There won't be that many anyway and no signals. After working Seusscaboose's layout (Thanks again!) I'm thinking a car card system for switching will be the order of the day.

Thoughts?

Ive been cleaning out my 'Train Lair' over the past couple weekends so that construction can begin. The room is 11X15 and will also house my HO collection on shelves and my workbench (if it's still under all the unfinished projects) Once I'm into it, there will be cold Vitamin Y for anyone who wants to come down an help me make the Jacks Industrial a success.

All thoughts, criticisms and ridicules are welcome.
Russ

« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 07:20:01 AM by rswinnerton »
Russ Swinnerton
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Dave V

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail HCD layout)
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 08:48:30 PM »
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Hawtness must surely ensue!

My only advice is to avoid the temptation to do too much at once.  A single HCD is a great start with maybe a staging shelf to feed it.

Whatever you do, find an excuse for some beat-up gons.  If Jacks Industrial is an independent road, don't discount the Bachmann 44-tonner.  Another hawt idea might be an ex-PC high-hood Geep or notch-nosed Alco with JIRR on the cab.

Embrace the decay of the late 70s...  It makes for awesome modeling!
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rswinnerton

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail HCD layout)
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 09:09:44 PM »
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I was actually thinking that the Jacks Industrial would be a Conrail owned line, but one that was facing the cutbacks of the early 80s. (In the backstory, it would have been put up for sale by CR and perhaps bought by a shortline operator). Beat up gons are a must! Im thinking that the BLMA gons will do nicely, along with some of the ESM cars. I've got 5(!) pieces of rolling stock currently. A Walthers CR flat car, Atlas cattle car in PC, PC Atlas 2 bay covered hopper, and a pair of Atlas 50' boxcars in CR patchout. The CRHS just got the BLMA gons in, so at least 2 (probably 4) will be mine!

Road power will likely be something along the lines of a small GP unit. Considering the timeframe, the newest thing on the line would have been a GP 38. Hmmm...Maybe a CR SW unit with a patched PC unit running together. ........ Mmmmmmm :P

Russ
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svedblen

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail HCD layout)
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2011, 01:20:47 PM »
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Just a word of caution about the BLMA gons, if it is the ACF 70-Ton 52' Gondolas you mean, and your plans for tight curves. I bought a couple of those some time ago, but although nice looking, low running as they are they derailed on my #5 turnouts, the trucks catching the underbody. Perhaps I could have fixed that with some filing, but instead I returned them (no problem with that). But maybe BLMA have fixed the problem by now.
Lennart

rswinnerton

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail HCD layout)
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2011, 07:19:26 AM »
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Well, progress has been made! I've got a real problem with changing my mind and once again, the plan has changed slightly. This won't be a HCD as previously stated. The section of benchwork I got up last night is a 4'x4' section which is to become a large coal mine and the main reason for this branch's existence. It will serve as the end of the line. I'm thinking a pair of Walthers 'New River Mine' kits bashed together and a loop track around the whole affair. Switching in the load outs will be handled by a pair of 44tonners.

Here's a pic of that section up with my current freight car roster out for its first show!


This used to be my Christmas train layout (which is why it's white). It's now covered with 1" foam and weighted down to dry.

This is awesome!
Russ
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seusscaboose

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 11:00:05 AM »
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Lookin' good...  starting is always the hardest part for me...

when are you sliding down this way again to run trains and talk CRHS...

i can help with car card system when you get to the point of running trains...

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rswinnerton

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 06:21:21 PM »
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Thanks Seuss.. If theres room in your ops sessions, I'd love to be on the list. I'll actually be in Baltimore next Saturday night and Sunday for a friend's Christmas party. Got time Sunday? Drop me an email. (The other email you sent was to the right addres, just didn't get a chance to reply)

Thanks!
Russ Swinnerton
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DKS

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 08:41:15 PM »
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My origional plan involved 3 HCDs, but I think I'm scaleing that back to one.

Sorry to hear this--some of our early three-door sketches were looking like fun. But one door is better than none. Any chance of seeing some kind of overall plan?

rswinnerton

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2011, 09:21:34 PM »
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Actually David, I'm expanding! The more I thought of it, the more I knew I wouldn't be happy with a roundy round and would lose interest in it. After talking with Ed about it and bouncing some ideas off him, I decided to use some of the modules I built for HO for N instead. I won't be able to build an HO scale layout unitl we move (5-7 years), so this N scale offers me the opportunity to work with some things I haven't before (DCC, PanelPRO, JMRI, etc) and also to work on my modeling skills in a smaller scale. So with that in mind, I repurposed the HO modules for this. The first one (as seen above) is a 4'x4' square. My plan is to then add 2'X6' module to that, then I've got a 90 degree corner, a 4' module, then a wide corner, then the remaining 12' (all by 2' wide). The square will be the end of the line and be a 6 track mine loadout with a balloon track around the outside. Operationally, the local train will bring in emptys onto the balloon track and drop them, collect the loads from the mine, hook the caboose and head back to the interchange. The mine will have a pair of ex PRR 44tonners switch the hoppers through the loadout.

The other main section of the layout will be an industrial section loosely based on Boston St in Baltimore (and American St. and Delaware Ave in Philadelphia). Lots of center street trackage (not in street, but in center median) with industries both sides. Between the two will be some (hopefully) beautiful scenery and "dead space" as Ed calls it. That should provide the coal train a nice short run while someone else switches the industrial complex and another works the yard as trains come in from the interchange.

All will be controlled by the Dispatcher, except from CP VALLEY, which is the end of CTC and will require track warrant / train order. (only the coal mine and maybe one other industry out there). I'm planning on all major switches along the line there to be controlled by the dispatcher (ie any non-indusrty switches). The dispatcher will also probably double as the yard switcher as it'll be a pretty easy job.

Car routing will be car card and waybill, but should be pretty easy.

This is gonna be awesome!
Russ
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pwnj

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2011, 11:13:18 PM »
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That sounds excellent, and fun to operate!  :)

rswinnerton

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2012, 09:05:18 AM »
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Gonna get some work done today. The plan is to add the next module and get some road bed down.

Also found some very nice 5 conductor 18ga wire for wiring up my switch machines. 2 wires for throw and 3 for panel LEDs to show position of the switch. I'm hoping to have some of that put in today or early tomorrow.
Russ
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Philip H

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012, 09:37:53 AM »
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And where's the update Russ?
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rswinnerton

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 01:37:40 PM »
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I got the module piece added, but couldn't get more done because I had to go to work early Sunday. I'll post some pics next weekend with wifey's IPad.
Russ Swinnerton
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rswinnerton

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Re: Jacks Industrial Running Track (an N scale Conrail layout)
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 10:28:52 PM »
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So.... Ive got some updates and some pictures.

First off, here's an overall shot of what I've got so far. In the back, the roadbed loop is the balloon track for the coal mine. Inside the loop will be the mine and 5 mine leads. Each lead should be able to hold 6 cars. Outside of that is a staging / off scene industry track so I can handle some cars that wouldn't normally be on my layout. It breaks off on the right (as a continuing main line) and will curve around and follow the blue tape on the left through the mining / industrial community and will join back into the main via a realigned interchange / former crossing.



Looking the other direction we see the mine lead to the right of the tape measure (which is holding down the first section of track laid on this railroad!



Finally, a night shot of our leased power.

Russ Swinnerton
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