Author Topic: Allegheny Eastern: Clean Slate  (Read 39962 times)

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kelticsylk

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Allegheny Eastern: Clean Slate
« on: September 08, 2012, 11:59:19 PM »
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Sorry to start a new thread but several things have happened that led me to the decision to wipe the slate (or in my case tabletop) clean and try again. All of the main line shown in this March 1st revision had been laid and was operating...

The revision was "inspired" by two additions that added almost 70 square feet to the layout.  I had already completed a 4' x 9' extension and added another aisle on the Gallitzin side. The track between Brandimarte and Antis was already torn up.  A 4' x 6' section east of the original Altoona area would added additional storage space under the layout and required the relocation of the curve between Slope and Wikes. Half of the main line was being relocated. It made a lot of sense to just start over.

I will not be reusing the styro-spline construction method I had developed for the roadbed. The vertical layers of 1/2" foam were very flexible and could easily be formed to create any radius curve. I'm not sure how small you can go before the styrofoam breaks but I'm thinking 12" might be the minimum radius. Two layers will support a single track and is quite stable. On the Agg (the local term of endearment for the AllEast) the main  line is four tracks. The resulting 8 layer roadbed is very solid. So solid that you can pick the roadbed up and move it. This is the roadbed for the eastern slope sitting out on my lawn after it was removed from the layout. The section seen here runs from Slope to McCanns Curve just beyond Horseshoe...

The major drawback is that each layer of the spline has to be cut properly to create a grade. This gets a bit complex when creating curves. It would take a great deal of calculating to precut each piece so the roadbed is exactly the right height to match the others. I decided to try cutting to the general slope and then leveling the grade after the roadbed was in place. This requires cutting accurately in two dimensions at once. I'm afraid I ended up with high spots and dips in both directions. Filling and sanding didn't help. There was also the question of transitioning from grade to level. I could not get things to line up the way I really wanted to.

I still think the idea has merit, especially for model rail layouts built with flat tables. I just couldn't get it to work. On the new incarnation I'm falling back on the tried and true "cookie cutter" method of making roadbed. The amount of waste makes me shudder, but I can't see a more inexpensive way to create smooth grades and vertical transitions. There won't be an added expense because I'm cutting up the existing plywood/foam table top to create the roadbed for the new track plan...

I've cut back on the trackage for the Logan Valley traction line and "decomplicated" the Blair Furnace area (the Altoona Northern and the Glen White Coal & Lumber tracks). I've also included more industrial sidings for operating interest. The biggest change is at Juniata. I've given up creating any semblance of a classification yard and have planned for a double ended staging yard. Couldn't let go of the East Altoona roundhouse...Need someplace to store and service locomotives.

The "cookie cutter" roadbed requires open frame benchwork. Because the storage underneath is a priority and to keep the costs down the existing 2" x 4" lumber open frame will be reused. The existing frame has a ladder style "top" with cross pieces spaced about 12" apart. In the yard area the roadbed will lie directly on the frame. The graded portions and Gallitzin will be supported by vertical 2" x 4" "Tee" risers screwed into the cross pieces (after adjustments).

All the existing track, ballast strip and roadbed are being removed...
Because of the methods I used it only took about 10-12 hours to pull up the 8 or so scale miles of code 55 (4 tracks for 70 feet). You can see all the track in a neat pile at the top of the photo (near the water heater). The big messy pile is all the foam ballast strip. Since I used "Tacky Glue" to hold the ballast strip in place it came up rather easily with little damage. The track was held down with small brads spaced about 6" apart and came up easily. The brads were used temporarily. I was planning to hold the track down with ballast and thinned tacky glue and then remove the brads.

All the foam roadbed seen here has been removed. I'm in the process of pasting a full size printout of the new track plan to the plywood/foam. Once that's done and I'm sure everything is where I want it I will fire up my new jig saw and begin cutting out the roadbed.

That's all for now...Time to sleep.

Regards,
Frank Musick



kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Traffic Flow
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2012, 12:15:41 AM »
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One of the things that fascinates me about the real PRR facilities at Altoona is the fact that the passenger tracks and the freight tracks split and take two different routes through the yards. This meant the traffic had to be rerouted to different tracks at both ends of the installation.

On the PRR track charts the traffic runs like this for the most part...
Red = Track 1, typically eastbound (eastward) freight.
Yellow = Track 2, typically eastbound (eastward) passenger.
Blue = Track 3, typically westbound (westward) passenger.
Green = Track 4, typically westbound (westward) freight.

Once inside the yard limits, however, it changes to this...
Red = Track 1, typically eastbound (eastward) freight.
Green = Track 2, typically westbound (westward) freight.
Yellow = Track 3, typically eastbound (eastward) passenger.
Blue = Track 4, typically westbound (westward) passenger.

Another interesting aspect is the operations on the "eastern slope" between Altoona and Gallitzin. Helper engines were added to westbound trains at Slope where the turntable was used to turn the helpers for the next run up the hill. The helpers would uncouple from their trains at the top of the hill and take a reverse loop to get back down the hill. The reverse loop connected tracks 2 and 3 so helpers from either westbound track had to Track 1 eastbound to get back down the hill. The Pennsy did not run it's helpers backwards on the east slope. The speed rules dictated slower speeds for reverse running. Running forwards was the quickest most efficient way to get back to Altoona. Once back down the helpers had to cross all four tracks to reach the turntable (purple). On my plan the location of the turntable requires locomotives reverse up Track 4 to access the turntable. There wasn't space to do it the "right" way and it adds a nice "hitch" to operations.

One of the things I discovered while studying the traffic flow were several "dead" spots. On each end of the yards there are short sections of track that never get used. On the "east" end these dead spots are on tracks 4 and 2. On the west end they are on tracks 2 and 3. If I hadn't made these traffic flow "sketches" I'd have probably never noticed. I'm currently studying ways to relocate turnouts to eliminate these.

The crossovers at Antis (east end of the yard), Alto (west end of the yard) and Slope are the only necessary "interlocking" installations on the layout. I did however try to recreate two more for operation variety. "Benny" allows westbound trains to use the eastbound tunnel. The same id true on the west end of Gallitzin. Eastbound trains can be switched to use the westbound tunnels. I can simulate a problem requiring all traffic to be funneled though one set of tunnels if things ever get boring.

I thought of recreating the crossovers at Kittaning, just east of Horseshoe, but felt they were overkill.

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: More Traffic Studies
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2012, 01:18:59 PM »
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I tried to eliminate the "dead spots" in the traffic pattern by relocating some of the crossovers. Same color codes as before...
ALTO
I relocated the express yard and Altoona depot further east to allow me to space out the crossovers. There's only one unused section of track now and it's on Track 4, the west bound freight main. A short train parked here will not interfere with mainline trains. Since it's a sort of "eddy" in traffic flow I can add an industrial spur here, possibly to serve the Logan Valley's power house.

SLOPE
Once again I relocated the crossovers to facilitate the movement of helpers to and from the turntable. Uphill helpers (black dots) can easily access either westbound main. Returning helpers (purple dots) can move directly to the turning facility without the reverse move and possibly delaying westbound trains.

BENNY
After I had posted the last study I realized that the westbound tunnel was meant to be two bores as it is in the real world. I added the second bore and rearranged the trackage. I also eliminated a couple of crossovers. At one time there were spurs in this area for coke ovens. The additional crossovers allowed access to these spurs as well as rerouting to the Hollidaysburg/Duncansville branch. I had intended to model a portion of that branch at one time, but abandoned the idea. I have indicated the flow of helper traffic just as I did with SLOPE. Black dots for helper traffic uphill, purple for returning locomotives. Helpers can switch to Track 2 if need be using the crossover at Benny.

ANTIS
Just as I did at ALTO I rearranged cross overs to eliminate "dead spots".  The one remaining is also on Track 4. Here it enables trains working the Blair Furnace area (colored teal) to stop without interfering with mainline traffic.

I have to say that this idea of actually planning all this BEFORE laying track is a lot better than the organic method I was using (lay actual track, update drawing, rearrange track, update drawing, etc and so on...Having said that I do not think I could have developed the plan without the trial and error method I was using. I'm able to refine the details using the planning software but the overall concept required that hands on experience.

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Operations
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2012, 06:33:58 PM »
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Using the XTrkCAD software to create the trackplan (I was using Visio) enables the user to operate trains over the "layout" to see how it will operate. I spent a few hours trying this and came up with some surprises...

From the looks of it, you would suspect the Allegheny Eastern was a "roundy-round" layout. Turns out that isn't quite the reality. A twist in the actual Pennsy installation at Altoona provides quite a bit of action that is copied on the model. If you study the layout of the real track work at Altoona (back in the day), you'll notice that the PRR splits the mainlines at each end of the yards. All passenger traffic crosses over from tracks 2 and 3 to 1 and 2. At the other end of the yards the same traffic is routed back onto tracks 2 and 3 again. Likewise, freight traffic crosses over from tracks 1 and 4 to use tracks 3 and 4 through the yards and then crosses back to 1 and 4 at the opposite end. These crossovers can create a quite a bit of "excitement" as I learned while operating trains on the track plan.

It may hard to see here with all the "trains" in the way but you may get the general idea. This is the ALTO "interlocking" at the west end of the yard. There are four trains visible here, two freight and two passenger. The eastbound freight, pulled by #59 is on Track 4. This train can travel the entire layout virtually undisturbed by any of the through traffic. Trains on this track never have to crossover to any other track during "normal" operations. The fun begins on Track 3. The westbound freight, pulled by #70, is on track 3 and waiting to crossover to Track 1.(just above the west arrow). Tracks 2, 3 and 1 are currently occupied by two passenger trains. The train pulled by #57 is crossing from Track 2 to Track 3 to pass Altoona depot just east of this area. #55 is pulling a westbound passenger train off of Track 1 and onto Track 3 where it will begin it's climb to Galltzin.

This is an overall view of the ALTO interlocking. The turnouts are set to show the paths used by the trains in the first illustration. The route of the two passenger trains is pretty obvious, the turnouts are set to cross from Track 2 to Track 3for the eastbound and from Track 4 to Track 2 for the westbound. For eastbound freight trains use Track 1 almost exclusively. I have made no provision here to cross between Track 1 to Track 2 eastbound (although I probably will), Westbound freight trains come out of the yards on Track 3 and use the set of crossovers at the west end to reach Track 4. The one turnout that connects Track 3 to Track 2 in the westbound direction is still set for eastbound passenger traffic.

West of ALTO, at SLOPE, is another interlocking. This one enables helpers to move to the westbound tracks (3 and 4) to assist trains up the hill. It also enables returning helpers to cross from Track 1 to the turntable and other facilities. On the PRR the helpers were turned here so they could proceed back up the hill forward. This makes plenty of sens with steam locomotives, but also applies to the diesel road switchers which the PRR ran long hood forward. The westbound passenger train pulled by #55 is stopped waiting for a helper. I forgot to have a helper ready for it and you can see all of them are still idling on the approach tracks to the turntable. There are 6 of them. I started with two but came to realize that wasn't enough. Even with only four trains on the layout it is possible to have three of them climbing the hill at the same time. Since they all travel at different speeds they don't arrive at the same place at the same time. Sometimes they do. The sight of four trains meeting and passing each other is pretty dramatic (in a railroady kind of way). Once the helper (or helpers) are coupled up the train begins to ascend the long grade to the summit.

Once a westbound train tops the hill the helper(s) uncouple(s) and crosses over to Track 2 to access the return loop. I have the turnsout set so that #74 can proceed without delay and clear the main. There is are actually interlockings here, one westbound and one eastbound but the designations escapes me at the moment. The helper will proceed to the eastbound end of the loop and wait for clearance to drift back down the hill to SLOPE. This can be trickier than it seems. The PRR turned the helpers so the could head downhill as fast as the limits allow and return to their station. During my operating sessions I found I had to follow slower train down the hill on Track 1. Nothing like trailing behind a drag freight doing 15 miles per. In such a case clearance could be given to descend the hill on Track 2, which is normally the eastbound passenger main. Sometimes I got back down the hill just as another train needed an assist going up. Since the other helper was already on the hill I had to head back up, leaving the grade unprotected should anymore trains arrive. That's when I discovered two helper crews were not enough. Hence the flock sitting at the SLOPE turntable.

My last illustration is from ANTIS, the interlocking on the east end of the Altoona yards. Westbound trains have completed their journey around the layout and now head into staging (the Altoona yards are meant to be used as staging and or classification yards) OR can loop around the layout again but treated as a different train. I've shown the turnouts routed for the westbound freight to cross from Track 1 to Track 3. In actual operation the route would be set for the two passenger trains while the westbound freight waits for the go-ahead. As I mentioned earlier, the eastbound freight stays on Track 4 for the entire trip unless it moves to yard track or things go horribly wrong.

I plan to try running more trains on the plan to get an idea of what can be done. Besides more trains in and out of staging, there;s local freight, turns to deliver and pick up loads and empties from the mines and operating the Glen White / Altoona Northern trackage at Blair Furnace.

I'm also constructing the benchwork for the extension at the west end of Altoona and SLOPE and will be starting on the roadbed. Can;t wait to fire up that new jigsaw...

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Altoona
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 01:41:02 AM »
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In order to get a REAL idea of the size of this undertaking I populated the layout plan with trains. As I stated earlier, XTrkCAD lets you do this. Apparently you can place as many trains as you might care to so I filled up the staging/classification yards. I added cars to all the industrial spurs and mines. I also placed trains on the Altoona Northern / Glen White Coal and Lumber tracks through Blair Furnace. Just for fun I even added "trolleys" to the Logan Valley.

I'm not sure if you will be able to view these images I'm going to post. While they are hosted at Comcast they are quite large and may take some time to load...
This is what the Altoona yards might look like with 8 freight trains in staging and 2 on the mains. The trains average about 20 cars each. I've also placed several smaller trains (just a locomotive and caboose) on the outside tracks that will serve as peddler freights and mine runs.

There are two 10 car passenger trains at Altoona depot with enough space on those two mains (within yard limits) for several more. Unfortunately there are no sidings so two may be the limit. I don't want the passenger mains to look like the expressway at rush hour.

I thought I might feel a bit overwhelmed, but it's exactly the opposite. It took several years of trial and error to get to this point and it's great to see it finally coming together. It'll take several more years to build it, but that is part of this hobby.

Altoona REA, freight and depot...

The Altoona and Logan Valley carbarn, power house and interchange track...

I'm looking forward to turning this plan into a reality though I may need to mortgage the farm to fill those yards  :)

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: S.N.A.F.U.
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 02:57:31 PM »
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Having played around with running "trains" on the layout plan for a few whiles, I went down to the garage and started real work.
First I pulled up the foam top. Pried up is a more exact term. I had used latex caulk to fasten the stuff down. I managed to remove about 99.9% of it without destroying the sheets and pieces.

I then went around with trusty $25 DeWalt (yard sales are wonderful) and undid all the screws holding down the plywood.
(NOTE! Drywalls screws are the mechanical equivalent of duct tape. VERY versatile).

Once I had the bare frame exposed I found places that will need additional crosspieces. They need to be on 1 foot centers to support the vertical "Tee's" that will support the plywood "sub roadbed"...

Somewhere during this "renovation" I took it upon myself to measure the frames so I could calculate the number of square feet the layout took up. I went back upstairs and pulled up the layout plan and...

I'm not sure how it happened. The layout shows as 15 foot square which is correct. HOWEVER...The tables supporting Bennington and Gallitzin were shown as a foot TOO LONG.

After cussing at myself for a few minutes I started correcting the drawing. That extra foot solved a lot of issues, particularly the helper loop at  the summit.

I had drawn  the aisle way above these areas as 1 foot, not 2. Now everything had to be compressed in a major way.

I had to create some curves without easements to fit things in. I also couldn't use a standard template for the curved turnouts at either end of the helper loop. neither the curve or the length would work. That helper loop has now gone from 10" down to 7.75. I was hoping for a wider radius. I was even concerned about 10 inches. Not sure how those Mike's will handle curves that tight.

On the good side...I learned how to create proper turntables in using the software...



kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Fixed
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 06:30:44 PM »
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I was able to make some satisfactory revisions to the Bennington-Gallitzin area...

The helper loop is still tight, but I'll go with it.

While I was at it I decided to create a helix to bring the elevation down from the 8" that is now planned. I had originally thought to put Gallitzin at 6" but the only satisfactory grade I could get was with a 2 level 30" radius helix. I opted for a 4 level 22" radius helix instead and ended up at 8". The helix will add another 46 feet of track and extend runs. I can also hide a few trains in there and create more operating possibilities.

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Operations 2
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 12:13:14 AM »
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After making even more corrections and additions I ran some "trains" on the layout...
You may not be able to see, but the orange blobs are the trains. The red bars are turnouts. I kept the interlockings at ALTO, ANTIS and SLOPE the way they are. I had to do some extensive "revisioning" to get all the kinks worked out. The XTrkCAD software works certain ways and I had to use a few creative combinations of tools and templates to get everything connected and working.

The helix was the "funnest" part. It took me a while to figure out how to make the function work. The helix is 8" high with 3 turns. The outside radius is 22", the inside 18.25". Supposedly that's a 1.336%  grade. Once I had the 22" loop created it was just a matter of creating parallel tracks (spaced 1.25" apart). There is a tool for doing just that. You can see that I buried the thing under Gallitzin. The Gallitzin end will be hidden by a highway overpass. The lower end becomes the Spruce Creek tunnels. It's kinda fun to watch the "trains" using the helix. There seems to be at least three of them on the thing at any given time. I intend to leave the completed helix exposed on the aisle side covered with plexiglas. The grandkids will love it. It also adds almost a scale mile to the mainline, making the entire loop about 3-4 miles long. Won't know for sure until the track is laid. I've gotten into the habit of marking the roadbed at every foot. Not only does it let me know how long the run is, it helps locate things and set speeds (kinda like real mile markers would).

The other tool that was cool to use (once I figured it out) was the Elevation tool. You set the elevation of the two ends of your grade. Than you move along the track selecting track endpoints (at joints) you set these intermediate points to Grade and the software uses the two endpoints and the distance to set the grade for you. On the eastern slope (Altoona to Gallitzin) the grade is a steady 1.5% climb over 43 feet (about 1.3 scale miles). The software has a tool to show that too, called Profile...

You define a path, shown in purple, with clicks of the mouse...

and the program creates a profile of that path...

I was also able to do this with the helix...Easier because you use only two points. First the path...

and then the profile...

You can even change sections of the grade by defining points and sliding different points up and down. I could have tried to emulate the grades on the actual PRR right of way, but I think I'll just stick with a steady climb. The "summit" is currently at the top of the helix, which isn't correct to the prototype. The real summit is actually inside the bores through Tunnel Hill. I will have to go back and set it right now that I know how the program works.

One final thing the software lets you simulate...Towerman's mistakes...
Found this one out the hard way. While I was busy making sure helpers were being assigned uphill two freights got switched to the same track. This would be a major problem on the real helix. Then again, I would have to find a way to route trains around the wreck. Might need a few more crossovers. If the track plan gets this interesting. I wonder will the actual layout will be like?

Regards,
Frank Musick
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 12:59:03 AM by kelticsylk »

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Real work
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 04:34:15 PM »
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Finally stopped revising the track plan and got around to building the Altoona/Slope extension. The frame is as simple as you can get...2x4s, drywall screws and casters...
The crosspieces are not in place yet.

The extension was then wheeled into place over the workbench I use for repairing cars, trucks, boats and most other real-world things....
This shot gives you a good idea of the major design parameter, storage space.  Beats building shelving. As a matter of fact, most of the benchwork was built from the shelving that used to line the garage walls.

When I'm not repairing cars or trucks and want to work on models I use the hobby workbench under East Altoona at the opposite corner of the layout. All that stuff you see is piled on top of the cover. There is actually a desk under that with a worktop. There's a small sign on the cover that says "Juniata Shops", a bit of wishful thinking on my part....

There is a lot o' stuff stored here. Having been married nearly 40 years you accumulate "stuff". There is also my library of railroad related books and magazines under Altoona (Juniata) yards. Several decades of Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, Railroad Magazine, etc. Some of this stuff goes back to the 1930's. There's even a biography of George Stephenson published when he was still alive.

After all that physical work in the hot sun, I came back to the computer and checked out one more function of the XTrkCAD program...It creates a printable parts list of all the track required to build the layout. It will even give you a price list and total if you enter the current price information.

Allegheny Eastern
2012Sep19

Thu Sep 20 14:19:14 2012

Count | Description
------+-------------------------------
    1 | 2050
    1 | Atlas 2026 20R full section
    1 | Atlas 2027 20R half section
    2 | Atlas 2051 #5 RH Switch
   24 | Atlas 2052 #7 LH Switch
   21 | Atlas 2053 #7 RH Switch
   11 | Atlas 2054 #10 LH Switch
   12 | Atlas 2055 #10 RH Switch
    3 | Atlas 2057 #3.5 WYE  Switch
    8 | Peco-55 SL-E386F Curved Right
    7 | Peco-55 SL-E387F Curved Left
    1 | Turntable, diameter 9.500
    1 | Turntable, diameter 9.500
    0 | 8373.778 N Flex Track       
------+-------------------------------

The listing for flex track actually startled me. Not possible, I thought. Must be in inches...But even that works out to 698 feet! I know I used about 280 (4 x 70) feet on the last incarnation, but nearly 700 sounds ridiculous. So I sat down and did a little math based on the info I got from the Profile tool in XTrkCAD...
Elevation 0" Spruce Creek to Slope: 49 feet
Eastern Slope (Slope to top of the helix at Gallitzin): 43 feet
Western Slope (Helix): 38 feet

Add that up and you get 130 feet. The two extensions and the helix have nearly DOUBLED the length of the mainline(was 70 feet) Multiply it by 4 (number of mainline tracks) and you get a whopping 520 feet. Add in the 10 yard tracks (maybe another 120 feet) and the trackage for Blair Furnace and miscellaneous industries. I guess you do get almost 700 feet. That's 280 pieces of 30" code 55!

So let's see...700 times 160 equals 112000, right? That can't be right... 112000 divided by 5280...Hell, that's about 21 scale miles...That really can't be right!

If anybody is reading this can you please check my math?

I must be crazy to even attempt this!

Gonna try anyway.

Regards,
Frank Musick

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Clean Slate
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2012, 08:58:55 PM »
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130 ft of mainline run sounds entirely plausible.  Given that, and your estimates of the yard & industrial track, your math works out just fine.  I think the important number here is 280: if you can lay 5-10 pieces a day, you'll be done in 1-2 months.  (I can't work that fast, but you might be able to.) 

Good catch on the aisle width bug.  Measure twice, cut once.  RE the helper turnaround, have you tried running a real helper loco on such a tight curve, before you commit?

-Gary

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Helpers
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 10:48:46 PM »
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Gary, thanks for checking the math. The numbers seemed so crazy I really thought it was wrong. Even though it checks out, that 21 scale miles still sounds implausible.

Pretesting is a great idea. I did that for the PCC trolleys I plan to run and found they can negotiate a 3" radius curve (even at full throttle). Not sure why I didn't think to do it for my road engines. I plan to use class L1s Mikado's (2-8-2) for helpers and noticed on earlier incarnations of the AllEast that the pilot trucks derailed if the mainline radius got tight. My long wheel base diesels (PAs and DL109's also "baliked". At the time I had no drawn plan and was eyeballing the curves. I laid the curves out in a kind of freeform manner and as a result some areas were below the minimum 18" radius. I can't really tell you how tight they got, but I had to let out the curve by removing the brads that hold it down and making small adjustments until the engines stopped complaining. I designed the new plan using broad easments on most curves with a minimum radius of about 18.25 inches (I think). Since the program will tell me the radius I can check all the curves and know whic ones are the tightest. I'll set up a test track and run a Mike around it.

The loop has a very low speed restriction so I may get away with a tighter curve. The main concern was 8 coupled (or larger) locomotives. There might come a time when I can find affordable 8 and 10 coupled steamers.

My fantasy is to have the big steamers working the hill. For Pennsy these include...
M class (4-8-2)
I class (2-10-0)
N class (2-10-2)
J class (2-10-4)
T class (4-4-4-4)

The odds against this are huge but you never know...I read a MR review that the Bachmann 2-10-2 can negoiate a 9.5" curve, but I don't personally know. If a 2-8-2 has trouble with tight curves I not sure how a bigger engine could do any better.

Anyway...I currently have all the code 55 flex track from the previous attempt and have purchased more, but I think I'm a "tad" short of 280 pieces. The stuff is hard to find at local shops for various reasons (shop owners citing slow sales in most cases). I buy it up whenever I find it at varying prices. So far I've cleaned out three shops in two states. I plan to get the roadbed built first and lay the two outer mains with what I have now (150 pieces, maybe). We'll see how that goes.

I realize that the thing looks overwhelming, but I'm retired now and have the time to put into it. I buy the track, rolling stock and loco's in small increments to keep things affordable. I'm thinking folks have tackled bigger layouts and have pulled it off. It may take a while but I remind myself of John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid. He took 20 years to build it and still wasn't finished when he died (that's a sobering thought!).

One positive sign is that my wife encourages me. Now that she see's how the grandkids react, she's 100% sure it's a good idea. Besides, she's the one using most of the storage under the layout :)

Regards,
Frank Musick

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Notes "Out of Pocket"
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 08:45:16 AM »
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Some thoughts that occurred to me while "trainspotting" this weekend...
I did some math on cost for the trackwork.280 pieces of code 55 flex track will run between $12.00-$1400. Handlaying the track costs nearly the same. The rail is cheaper but the almost 50 ,000 ties will cost almost auch as flex track. Handlaying the turnouts will save quite a bit. Using code 80  (yuck) on the  helix reduce costs quite a bit.

Fortunately I have quite a bit of flex track already, including some code 80.

towl1996

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Clean Slate
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 07:50:27 PM »
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Interesting thread. Looking forward to watching it unfold and seeing that it's a Pennsy layout that makes it all the better. Enjoy.
Never argue with idiots; they'll drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Motive Power
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 12:16:28 AM »
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Another thing I mulled over this weekend was something I came across at the Keystone Crossings website...http://kc.pennsyrr.com/motiveops/downloads/48_loco_list.PDF

It's a listing of the motive power in use on December 1st, 1948 which is about the time the Allegheny Eastern attempts to recreate. The steam engine list has a few surprises, like the D16sb at the top of the list. You would think that by the late 40's Pennsy would have scrapped all of it's 4-4-0's but there it is. There are still a few E class 4-4-2's lurking on the property as well as the earlier K class locomotives. The S1 is no longer in service, but the newer Q, T, and J classes are all at work. The CC2's, ex Norfolk & Western Y class Mallets, are probably working in the hump yard where they ended their days.

This is also the period when the Pennsy hadn't quite figured out how to use diesels yet. The switcher and road switcher classes are pretty well established, but the cab unit road diesels are still used in sets and classified that way. Alco PA1's that were to become class AP20 are still listed as AP-2, a 4000 HP combination of one A and one B unit. The EMD units, probably E-6's are similar. EP-2 is a 4000 HP A-B set. The Fairbanks Morse "Erie builts" (I forget the actual factory designation) are 4000 HP pair of A units classified as FF-2.

The majority of passenger road engines come in 6000 HP sets. Class AP-3 is an A-B-A string of 2000 HP Alco PA1's. The same set from Fairbanks Morse is classified FP-3 (never seen a photo of the FM passenger sets). Oddly, there are no 6000 HP Electro-Motive sets. The only listing outside of the EP-2 already mentioned is the EF-3, a 4500 HP A-B-A set probably composed of F-7's. There two 6000 HP FM classes, both freight "engines, FF-3 and FF-3s, both consisting of a 2000 HP A-B-A units. The lower case "s" means superheater in PRR steamspeak, but I'm not sure how it applies to diesels. Alco FA's show up as class AF-4 in a 1000 HP A-B-B-A lash up.

It took a while for the Baldwin designations to sink in. BP-3 is an A-B-A lashup of 2000 HP passenger sharks. Two huge Baldwin "centipedes" are classified as one 6000 HP locomotive, PRR class BP-1.

So now I have a listing of what I can run on the Allegheny Eastern and how to properly address them in future. I already have many of the cab units. Still need the BP-1 and BP-3 to round out the passenger roster. The only road switchers I have to date are Alco S-3's and a pair of  Geep's but all in all the diesels are well covered. Steam power, on the other hand, is severely lacking. A pair of L1s conversions and a lone Trix K4s (needs work) are only Pennsy models on the property. A poorly running USRA 2-8-2 (a proxy L2?) and a Bachmann 4-8-4 (I hope to make an M1) round out the list.

I'll look into this further once I lay down some tracks for the beasties to ride on.


kelticsylk

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Re: Allegheny Eastern: Clean Slate
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2012, 01:25:47 AM »
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Back at working on the benchwork...

This an overall view of the benchwork for 15' x 15' layout. There are seven separate sections, five major ones mounted on casters and connected with two bridge sections and the bookcase. All these sections were joined to each other with 3" drywall screws. To the left of the photo is the bookcase that runs the entire length of the layout and supports part of the yards at Altoona. One of the "bridges" can be seen lying on the benchwork by the garage door.

Here;s a plan of the benchwork sections so you can a better idea of what's happening.

New cross pieces are being fitted in the frame where the centers are more than 1 foot apart. On some of the original frames the centers were 2 feet apart. Now I'm filling in the "holes" so to speak.  This view also shows the plywood sheeting used for the sub-roadbed. Once the frames are all revised and bolted back together a full size track plan will be glued to these sheets.
 
Since the outline of the roadbed is shown on the full size plan I can use it to guide the jigsaw cuts.

I'm also taking the benchwork sections apart. I'm removing the drywall screws and using this beastie to bore new holes...

for these rather large bolts. My son-in-law gave me buckets full, but I only need twelve to hold the layout together.

Each section is fastened to the one adjacent with the heavy bolts after the two sections are lined up and leveled.