Author Topic: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout  (Read 15383 times)

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timgill

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Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« on: September 04, 2013, 03:24:01 PM »
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After a recent move, I transplanted my small 10" x 40" switching layout to a wall in the garage. The available space is about 10' long, so there was ample opportunity for expansion. However, as I looked at the space, I began to have second thoughts about expanding the smaller layout, because:

1. The #4 turnouts and stubby spurs, made necessary by the original space constraints, looked too "train set," cartoony and congested.
2. The  benchwork would have to be expanded in an odd way to accomodate a curve in the main that originally departed at a 90 degree angle. For some reason the aesthetics of this bugged me.
3. My sensibilities towards modeling a more prototypical sense of "space" and purpose started to see other possibilities if I started from scratch.
4. The ever eloquent Lance Mindheim, and other readings, have instilled in me the practicality of an uber-simple, "acheivable" layout design that would be installed and running quickly and with efficient use of time and resources.

So I took down the old shelf, and started from scratch. The layout is to be a 12" by 8' shelf switcher, drawing prototype inspiration from the Citrus packing industry here in Southern California.

Here are a few prototype shots from which I am drawing inspiration for the main industry on the layout:



This is the Olive Heights Citrus Association circa 1960's. I like the brick design of this building, and the separated icing platform near the upper right.



This is another direction to go; I like the "earlier" feel of the wood siding and the simpler building design.

The Plan:

My mantra here is "simple." Four turnouts: a siding, a team track, and the spur that serves the Sunkist plant.



The feel is to be very "open," with sidings approaching a believable prototype length. I am constrained a bit by space, but I'd like to stretch the packing plant spur a bit to include an icing platform as well as a few loading doors. All turnouts are #6.

Eventually, I will design staging cassetes for both ends (or, perhaps, a transfer table style staging yard at one end) to allow for different trains to enter on and off stage.

I started the benchwork the other evening, using all hand tools (and a prayer that fascia would cover a world of sins).







I am lucky in that the walls are already sheathed in Masonite hardboard, which will do well as the backdrop.

Already visions of Zebra-striped geeps lugging orange reefers around are zipping through my head. If only I could find more Code 55 flex...



In addition to the Sunkist plant, there will be a small AT&SF style depot near the passing track, a grade crossing, as well as a couple of scenes suggesting massive orange orchards near the right of way.

I would appreciate input on the design, tweaks as far as operability. I don't want to add any more spurs or industries; on that point I'm sold. But if you can see any way to make the layout more convincing or operable, fire away.
-Tim Gill
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Catt

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 03:37:36 PM »
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Just out of curiosity is there room to expand if you were so inclined?
Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
Sole owner of the
Grande Valley Railway
100% Michigan made

Chris333

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 04:32:15 PM »
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I was just ready to post a link for newly stocked Atlas code 55 flex at MBKs, but now it is all out of stock.

railnerd

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 11:53:04 PM »
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Really, really cool.  would also make an awesome Free-moN module  :D

-Dave

nscalemike

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2013, 11:01:38 PM »
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Nothing wrong with that bench work by the looks of it.  Hand tools work just fine although it may take a bit longer. I also think this plan will be neat.  Good luck!

Chris333

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 01:47:12 AM »
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N Scale Supply posted a shippment of c55 flex  ;)

SOCAL-Bill

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 10:17:11 AM »
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Cool idea. I live in south Orange County now, and sadly, the citrus groves and strawberry fields are almost all gone. This is a near homage to that lost time!!

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 11:45:53 AM »
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N Scale Supply posted a shippment of c55 flex  ;)

Tease!

Not really. Once you try ordering it, it says it's sold out (and the price is $999.99).

timgill

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 06:30:56 PM »
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Thanks all for the feedback. Was on tour this weekend in the Bay area, so not much accomplished on the layout. However, I did discover a lighting solution with on-hand materials that I'm pretty pleased with.

I had a bunch of clamp lights laying around and thought I would try using them to light the layout area. Each was fitted with a 100 watt equivalent CFL bulb and clamped to the rafters above the layout. 3 of them were aimed strategically to provide even coverage.







The wiring is a bit messy, but from the standard viewing positions the lights are above and behind the viewer's head, so they are pretty much invisible.

Everything was wired into a surge protector that is mounted on the pegboard wall next to the layout. Eventually, the power for the DCC system (NCE Powercab) and accessories will all go through the same power strip, allowing one-switch on/off for the whole layout.

Also started drawing in centerlines for the track.



Since I am fond of handlaying my own turnouts, and am still facing a shortage of available code 55 flex near me, I am considering going all the way and handlaying all of the track. This would give me an opportunity to build on my existing handlaying skills, maybe even try my hand at some code 40 on the spurs.
-Tim Gill
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magicman_841

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 12:43:32 PM »
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Have you considered rotating your track plan by a few degrees so it's not parallel to the benchwork, just to break off the linear feeling?

timgill

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 02:22:59 PM »
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Quote
Have you considered rotating your track plan by a few degrees so it's not parallel to the benchwork, just to break off the linear feeling?

Yes...this sentiment has been expressed by a few people. I am figuring out if I want to just skew the whole thing, or insert a slight curve between the runaround and the packing house spur.
-Tim Gill
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timgill

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 06:42:45 PM »
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In regards to the feedback I received from many about introducing some non-parallel track alignment into the plan, I drafted this up. It also includes the 2' and 3' semi-permanent staging cassettes on either end of the plan.



The runaround/team track jogs at an angle, which gives the opportunity for a foreground orange grove scene. This will help soften the "exit" to staging.

The cassette uses a left over Atlas #5. I also have an old box of c80 flex and #4's that could be utilized on the cassettes for a $0 investment; the #4's would be more space-efficient.

What do you guys think?
-Tim Gill
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lajmdlr

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 07:46:31 PM »
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Don't know if Jim Lancaster is on this forum but he's on several others. He has gathered alot of info on CA packing houses. Here's the one on SoCal:
http://coastdaylight.com/ljames1/scph.html

Andy Jackson
Bellflower CA
Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA
LAJ Modeler

timgill

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 08:24:03 PM »
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Thanks Andy; that's a wealth of information.

So, after thinking things over a bit, I may be turning this layout into a set of FreeMo modules that could be shelved up on the existing benchwork for home running, and taken to shows for exhibition. The modules could also be freestanding, and I could use the shelf for something else; hmmm...
-Tim Gill
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timgill

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Re: Sunkist Packing House, Orange County CA - N Scale Switching Layout
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2013, 06:56:17 PM »
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With the help of the amazing M.C. Fujiwara, some tweaks and additions were made to the plan for this layout to make it a little more operable and "flow" a bit more.

M.C.'s Vision:



My very slight edit:



The team track was expanded to two tracks to serve as storage tracks during reefer shuffles. M.C. also suggested a spur to an adjacent crate factory, which were often found right next to packing sheds.

I do realize I violated one of my own design criteria ("No more turnouts!"), but I do believe this will make for a more satisfying layout, and a very cool scene.

You will notice M.C. also designed this to work effectively as a pair of 4' FreeMo-N modules, since the track exits dead center on either end. I am still debating on whether to go the FreeMo route. It is tempting to be able to take this to shows and watch long trains run through the scene, though that might only happen once a year. M.C. also points out that, as a module, it would offer the opportunity to detail the inside of the packing plant as a cutaway.

Having the option certainly doesn't hurt. However, as it would sit on my current shelf, a 6" deep module would be pretty high up, almost at dead-eye-level for me and uncomfortably high for some visitors. Moving the shelf down would be a PITA. Also, I'd need to buy more plywood and spend more carpenter time vs.  track-laying time.

I had an angel help me find C55 flex, so tracklaying might start in the next week or so. I'll have to come to a conclusion before then.
-Tim Gill
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