Author Topic: Grand Trunk Southern  (Read 18538 times)

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shark_jj

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Grand Trunk Southern
« on: May 19, 2012, 02:28:00 PM »
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After two years of operating the PRR Allegheny Subdivision https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=14560.msg120242#msg120242 , I decided that while the Horseshoe Curve was scenically fascinating and I had received good reviews for my rendition, it just wasn't a lot of fun to operate.  Until you have build a 4 track mainline it is hard to imagine how hard it is to keep enough traffic moving to make it realistic.  In addition, the mainline and the staging yards occupied so much of the layout that it was in essence a very large roundy round with grades.  I wanted better operations.  So began the search for another prototype and the ultimate decision to proto-freelance. 

On February 1, 1968, Penn Central came into being through the amalgamation of the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads with the New Haven thrown in for good measure.  Left at the altar was the wholly owned by the PRR, Lehigh Valley.  In fact the ICC mandated that the Penn Central was to sell the Lehigh Valley.  (In the real world there were no buyers for the bankrupt LV).  Canadian National which had seen a major upswing in its cross border traffic with the North American Auto Pact had been looking for a way to increase its share of this cross border traffic from the 100 mile run it currently had from the auto plants of industrial Southern Ontario and the U.S. Border.  To the west it reached Chicago by way of wholly owned Grand Trunk Western.  Utilizing its U.S. subsidiary, Grand Trunk Corporation, CN offered a bargain basement price for the Lehigh Valley.  Initially rejected by Penn Central, CN approached the bankruptcy judge in the LV case, noted the ICC order to PC to divest itself of LV, and the fact that the CN offer exceeded what LV was worth in liquidation and the judge ordered the sale.

On January 1, 1969 Grand Trunk Corporation took possession of the property of the Lehigh Valley, and placed it in a subsidiary company the Grand Trunk Southern, to distinguish it from its mid-western counterpart the GTW.  CN now had access to the markets of New York and Philadelphia.  In addition it had a direction connection between NY and Chicago utilizing the GTS, the CN line across Southern Ontario, and the GTW.

shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2012, 02:41:23 PM »
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The layout is in a room which is 22 long with one 11ft section being 14ft wide and the other is 13 ft wide.  To date I have completed much of the benchwork and I am currently rebuilding the staging yards before moving on to the main part of the layout.  Whereas the previous layout had been 3 level, this layout will be only 2 level with the lower level dedicated entirely to staging. 

This plan shows the general configuration of the layout, however, it is hard to see any of the trackplan in the photograph.



There are four major components to the trackplan.  Yard operations (Sayre, Pa.), a major paper facility (Charmin Paper in Mehoopaney, Pa.), the interchange with the Genessee and Wyoming (salt cars), and a typical Pennysylvania town which has a a number of industries including a brewery and cement manufacturer.  There is also the potential to add an anthracite breaker as the plan develops.

One thing I have done is raised the height of the main part of the layout from 45 inches to 52 inches.  This is possible because of the removal of the 3rd level and is a much better viewing height in N Scale. In order to get around the room twice I was going to require a fair bit of hidden track, however, I am going to try and place the hidden track in shadow boxes at the front of the layout.  This photo is a mock up showing the height of the yard and the shadow box area immediately below it and in front.



The helix joining the two levels is already in place.



« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 02:50:56 PM by shark_jj »

shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2012, 03:09:04 PM »
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Wanting to quickly establish a new sense of corporate identity, GTS quickly began repainting locomotives.  They wanted to distinguish themselves from their mid western counterparts the GTW while still maintaining the CN family identity.  Whereas GTW had gone to blue and orange, the GTS settled on dark green and orange.  Here we can see a number of units being repainted before being sent back out on the road.


MichaelWinicki

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2012, 05:09:58 PM »
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Sorry to see the "Shoe" go away, but I understand what you're saying about the problems keeping the mainline busy enough to resemble actual operations... even a partial amount of operations.  That's a lot of trains.  And if you're going to have a lot of trains you need a whole lotta of staging areas/yards.   

Yep.  You're left with giant roundy-round with grades.

I would think that would get a tad stale after a while.

Luv the concept you're working on.  I'm a big fan of the LV, even though it ran a bit north and east of my local in western New York state.

And yes, going up to 52" from 45" is an improvement in viewing height.  Good move.

Specter3

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 01:22:18 PM »
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What time frame are you modeling? I love the idea.

Ryan

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 01:29:22 PM »
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I'm really digging that back story for the GTS; extremely plausible  8) also love the GTS look; looking forward to the further construction
Sawyer Berry
Clemson University graduate, c/o 2018
American manufacturing isn’t dead, it’s just gotten high tech

shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 05:31:34 PM »
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Ryan, I will be modelling the period right after the take over in mid to late 1969.   A bunch of GTS units, 20 are currently in the paint shop, but there will still be Lehigh Valley running around.  Additionally during this time period, the real Valley had to lease a lot of locomotives just to keep up with the demands that were being placed on it.  In real life they leased a lot of N&W F units, but since I have a lot of PRR F units, we are going to lease them since PC was getting ready to trade them in and they haven't received the "worm" yet.  Also during this time period the LV had an important connection with the D&H at Sayre (36,000 carloads per year) so we will see D&H units in Sayre, as well as the occasional Erie Lackawanna.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 09:41:24 PM »
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Interesting concept and a nice paint scheme.  I know what you mean about roundy-round with grades.  I worry that my Tehachapi plan will be similar.  However, that line is single track with sidings, so it will be much easier to congest.... Four tracks can handle a lot of traffic!  I've also tried to place enough online business to keep two locals going.  Time will tell, and like you I can always start over, but this is a line that I have to build at least once in my life.

I look forward to seeing how your new plan plays out.  Please keep us posted.

-Gary

shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2012, 12:39:03 PM »
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Development has continued on the plan.  It is now close to being finalized.  A number of things on the "island" style plan that I had previously posted were irritating me and I wasn't entirely sure what they were.  I ended up putting the three plans that we had been working on up on the layout room wall while I looked at the benchwork and envisioned what I saw.  These were the shortcomings I identified in the island plan.

1:  The aisleway created a U shaped "trap" for visitors and operators.  I am on a couple of annual open house tours and with my Pennsy layout I had a large open area which proved a boon for visitors and wanted something similar in this design.  Bottom line was that I wasn't happy with the people spaces.

2: All of the major components, or LDE's were very linear.  This would be appropriate west of the Mississippi, but in the Northeast where most railroads followed the curvature of rivers or river valleys, it just didn't seem right to my eye.

3: Lastly, I wanted something eye catching as you entered the layout room and all of the major design elements were on the back side of the U Shaped aisle.

One of the reasons for going to the island plan had been my desire for the yard to be a Division Style yard with a major engine terminal similar to that located at Sayre, Pa.  The layout style I have finally selected meant that I would have to downsize that component.  This reflection led me back to my givens and druthers and a ranking of what was really important.  When looked at in that context, people space was more important than the size of the engine terminal. 

Here is a photo of the plan.  The track, which is in pencil doesn't show up very clearly but you can see from the benchwork that it is a more open design and allows for freer people movement.  It also has a more curved mainline, and the three main LDE's are all well separated and don't infringe on each others viewing space.  Since the plan is pretty illegible other than the benchworkm here is a description. 

The top left is the four track helix coming up from staging.  As you go down the left wall this is P&L Junction which is the crossing and interchange between the GTS and the Genessee & Wyoming and B&O.  In front of and on top of the helix is the salt mine and G&W engine house, ala Retsof.  This is on what I call the "bottom line".  Also exiting the helix is the "upper line".  This is the only scene in which the two lines occupy the same space.  The upper line will be on a bridge across the back of P&L Junction.  The upper line continues onto the small island and around into the main yard.

The bottom line continues through the backdrop and under the yard and then pop back into the open at the upper right of the plan and around the short island and into a typical northern Pennsylvania town.  We are still refining the track plan here but it does contain an interchange with the EL and 4 or 5 industries. 

Coming out of town, the mainline goes around a short wall and into our family room before going through the wall into a storage room located behind the layout room where a grade brings it up to the level of the "upper line".  It exits the storage room and into the main yard.  This yard is the main interchange with the D&H.  GTS predecessor LV interchanged approximately 36,000 cars per year with the D&H so this is a major function.  All across the back of the yard is a large paper mill with its own small yard and railroad.  This mirrors the Charmin Plant at Mehoopany, Pennslyvania which was about 25 miles south of Sayre, but with the beauty of freelancing they are occupying the same space on this layout.  In this period this plant received and dispatched around 24,000 cars per year so it is a very large operation.  Also adjacent to the yard are a small glass facility and a Yuengling Brewery.  Continuing through the yard, we go around the small island, across the bridges above P&L Junction and back down the helix to staging.

This photo of the plan does not show the trackplan very well but does demonstrate how the two small peninsulas offer a more open layout with better people space and traffic movement than the single long centre island did.


shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2012, 04:45:56 PM »
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Well, I have been working on finalizing the track plan.  I have tried some of the CAD programs and either don't have the necessary skills, or more to the point, don't have the time to undergo the necessary learning curve.  As a result, I have relied on my friend Justin's drafting skills to make a scale drawing.  As you have seen in previous posts, it doesn't copy well.  I am however, quite skilled at desktop publishing and so using my photo enhancing software I worked on the scale drawing and this should be presentable.



If this is legible I would really appreciate any input on the layout design.  Here is a brief synopsis of what you are looking at.

The room is 22 feet long.  The width is 14 feet.  The long pieces of straight benchwork against the walls are 2 feet wide.  That should give a sense of scale.

As you look at the drawing I will give a brief description of each area starting on the upper left.

Retsof:  This is a small Genessee and Wyoming operation which has an engine house (extreme left), the American Salt Mine, and an interchange and crossing with the Grand Trunk Southern.  It surrounds the helix which leads to a staging yard which will hold 26 - 30 car trains.

P&L Junction:  This is the crossing of the G&W and the B&O (Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh).  Site of a station, freight house, and the G&W and B&O interchanges.

McCullough's Farm:  named after my good friend Craig, this is indicative of the rural farming areas which the GTS goes through.  It is also where the lower level line passes under the Sayrapony Yard before reappearing in the town of Sayrapony in the upper right hand corner of the plan.

Sayrapony Yard:  continuing around the bump out we see the Sylvania Glass company and proceed into the yard.  The three tracks at the front of the benchwork are an engine servicing facilty.  At the rear of the yard the first buildings are the Yuengling Brewery.  (it was actually on the Reading, but it is my favourite beer when I am south of the 49th parallel, so what the hey).  The yard itself represents Sayre, Pa., however, since I incorporated the Charmin Paper Mill from Mehoopaney, Pa., and since I am proto freelancing, I combined the two names.  The yard handles a major interchange with the D&H (from staging) as well as traffic for locals and for the paper mills.  On the back side of the yard is a small two track yard which services the paper mill.  The paper mill is a fully contained operation. 

Sayrapony:  As we move to the top right corner of the plan we reach the town of Sayrapony itself.  The first structures are the station and the freight house and then the town.  This is where the line that went under the yard reappears and goes through the town before crossing a series of bridges over the Susquehanna River.

Parrysburg:  named after my other good friend and modelling buddy Justin, (the draftsman of the plan), Parrysburg is a combination of numerous northern Pa. towns.  It seemed every town on the Lehigh Valley (the inspiration for the Grand Trunk Southern) had an Agway dealer, so that is the first thing you see as you enter the town.  The large industry is the Masonite Corporation, and then the crossing railroad is the Erie Lackawann with its interchange. 

If you look back a few plans you will see that the original plan had a center island, which I actually build, however, it created a people trap that I wasn't happy with and the people spaces seemed constrained.  This new plan opens up the people space.  The traps in the aisleways aren't as severe, and I can create eye catching scenes as you first enter the layout with the town of Parrysburg on one side and the American Salt Mine on the other, which was another one of my goals. 

Right now I am happy with how this plan has evolved as I transition from a three level layout to a single level with staging, but I am old enough and wise enough to recognize that someone may see something that I am totally missing. 

John

shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2012, 04:51:53 PM »
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I also should add that track will be Atlas Code 55, all turnouts are Atlas #7's and the minimum radius is 18 inches.

Specter3

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2012, 07:45:20 PM »
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Good looking and very well thought out. But I question the long hidden run under the yard. In my imagination an operator has a train that disappears into the tunnel at McCullahs farm and then at scale speed reappears 2 -3 long minutes later(or longer). That is a lot of time to not see your train. Though it does compare to the time it takes to run a helix on a layout I operate on. The owner hates that time but it was a necessary evil to do what he wanted to do. From his experience and dislike of that invisable time I would caution against it. Other than that it is well thought out. I would come up with a proposed list of trains and run an op session on paper with a few people. Print it out on a large format machine at kinkos and use something like chess pieces or the like to indicate train movements. It would show any real trackwork issues pretty quickly. Probably be fun as well.

shark_jj

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2012, 08:37:08 PM »
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Specter3, all good comments.  I too didn't care for the long hidden run, so it is designed to be at the front of the layout, 7 inches below the yard, and contained in a series of shadow boxes, so it is actually "visible" hidden trackage.  We have actually run a simulated session as you described and to this point nothing has jumped out at us.

Specter3

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2012, 08:51:44 PM »
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That low shadowbox idea is great. Good to hear it runs well in practice.

Hyperion

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Re: Grand Trunk Southern
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2012, 01:52:23 AM »
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I'm just gonna throw a couple comments out.  They're not criticisms at all - I think it's a great plan - just observations:

Your 2 mini peninsulas -- they create very curvy scenes.  Parrysburg isn't so bad, both because it's got a solid tangent of about 18" between curves, but down at the farm it just seems... off.  Like it doesn't fit into the plan or into the scene you're trying to portray of 'rural openness'.  Curves to me imply some sort of 'tightness', not open fields; I think that's one reason why, mentally, it seems to work better up in Parrysburg with all the buildings.  Although I guess it makes sense taking into consideration a desire to get over the track that's headed under the yard.

Up in Parrysburg -- you push the track to the rear of the town -- an unusual choice, but I like the idea of making the town the 'star' in that scene and kinda pushing the trains to the background, even if it is for just a few feet.  But, that said, something that popped into my mind when I was giving that design choice some thought was pulling the track forward a little and running the track through the center of the town's street.  Perhaps that's not at all common in Pennsylvania, I don't know.  Nor do I know if you're trying to be prototypical here and it simply wouldn't apply.  But I know it can be a fairly regular occurence in parts of the country, particularly with more regional-type railroads that simply don't have the money or volume to realign their right of way around town; but sometimes even on busy Class I lines.  It was just something that popped into my head when I saw the track and the parallel curved road.  I was just thinking it would be a neat scene and add some operational interest.  It would probably 'open up' the scene too by allowing more space between the buildings and combining the 2 scenes of town/street and the railroad behind it.
-Mark