Author Topic: BNSF Decatur Hill  (Read 2933 times)

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Denver Road Doug

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BNSF Decatur Hill
« on: December 10, 2014, 01:14:31 AM »
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As a result of a number of influences and sources of inspiration, I have decided to begin a new small layout depicting Decatur Hill on the BNSF.  Anyone who knows me or has paid any attention to my posts knows that my modeling centers around the north central Texas area, so I won't get too bogged down in that.  Decatur Hill is probably the least known "hill" in the history of railroading, but it is real and it had posed operating challenges to generations of FW&D/BN/BNSF railroaders.   It's no Crawford Hill, or el Cajon, but it does necessitate helpers...and in traditionally FLAT north Texas.

The reality of it is, there will be very little "hill", and no real helper ops or ops otherwise.  This is a fairly simple and very small roundy roundy, and that is really the layout in a nutshell.  So let's get to the layout plan!
« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 07:47:56 PM by Denver Road Doug »
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2014, 01:15:46 AM »
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Here's the plan, and some explanation to follow.

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Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 01:28:19 AM »
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So the plan is a simple oval, with a passing siding on the right side and bottom.   The bottom configuration of trackage represents Bowie, TX.  The bottom spur serves a drilling mud company.  The left side of the spur looks a little odd, but in the real world the left (railroad west) switch of what was a siding was removed sometime in the late 80's/early 90's.  So pretty much the last 1/3 of the trackage will be virtually underground.  There will be enough track to hold two boxcars.

 The siding on the top side of the Bowie area serves Bowie Milling and also commonly holds MOW equipment, as Bowie is the maintenance base for the subdivision. 

Bowie runs west to east, then the passing siding winds around counter-clockwise in a railroad eastbound direction then up the hill.    In reality it's about an 8-10 mile run, not 40" but nevertheless we come to the top of the hill on the top left of the layout diagram.   The spur here is Poco Graphite, which at one time received covered hoppers.

And that's pretty much it!   Just a place to run trains around and spot a few cars or show off some MOW equipment.  Simple, Unitrack on foam, something maybe I can accomplish in short order.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 01:31:29 AM by Denver Road Doug »
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 01:46:34 AM »
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You can google "Bowie TX" and/or "Decatur TX" and look at the maps to get an idea of how things are arranged.  Last I checked Poco graphite no longer has rail access, and the railroad east switch on the Bowie Milling siding is also gone. (as is the Bowie Milling elevator)

There are some neat features that will be included, not the least of which is a highway overpass on the lower left corner of the layout with the landmark BNSF bridge with Burlington Route logos and FW&D lettering still in plain sight.  The city of Bowie will also be included, with a somewhat "Hometown USA" type of feel.   I want to include at least a very selectively compressed version of Bowie Industries, (not rail served) which was founded by my grandfather.   There will also be a small bridge over Black Creek, which would be the 4 7/8" piece that is just to the left of the passing siding turnout on the top side of the diagram.

Couple of other items:
1. There will be a low scene divider backdrop roughly down the middle, skewed slightly to the hill side to have room for town items.   It will go completely to the edge on the left side where the respective scenes go off somewhere else. (specifically, Wichita Falls/Amarillo to the west...disguised by a rock cut on the Bowie side, and Saginaw/Fort Worth to the east...shielded by an overpass on the Decatur side.)   It will stop short on the ride side, leaving the passing siding out in the open.
2. The Poco Graphite plant will be a probably not-very-altered Pikestuff M.A.C. building, as the Poco facility looks like a container full of Pikestuff buildings flew off a train and exploded. (see Decatur Google above)
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 09:50:16 AM by Denver Road Doug »
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basementcalling

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 03:04:00 AM »
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Schweeet!
Peter Pfotenhauer

Chris333

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 03:10:51 AM »
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I like the plan, time to pick up a door  :)

GaryHinshaw

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2014, 05:27:54 AM »
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And that's pretty much it!   Just a place to run trains around and spot a few cars or show off some MOW equipment.  Simple, Unitrack on foam, something maybe I can accomplish in short order.

Build it!  We expect photos by the weekend.  :)


Rossford Yard

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2014, 02:39:49 PM »
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Not sure of the proto arrangements, but from purely "keeping track away from the edge" considerations, I might move the lower siding turnout from the right side of the layout to the left.  Operationally similar, and it seems the turnout conglomeration on the right just gets a bit crowded to the edge.

Just my two cents.  Looks great.  I will give you an extra week to finish since it is the busy Xmas holiday....... :D

Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 04:18:36 PM »
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Jeff,

Couple of things...  First, the proto arrangement is significant in this case.   To be representative of Bowie, it has to be setup that way.   Honestly I'm not sure I'm really clear on what you mean, but any significant moving of turnouts probably can't happen.

Second, that track is crowding the edge (as an aside, the layout edge won't follow the diagram, more to come on that) because I will be using the "front flats" concept so virtually none of that track will be exposed to gravity, except for one small 2 1/4" section where the road cuts through and one ~1/2" gap between buildings.   The drilling mud warehouse, a non-rail-served Berend Bros feed & seed, and a defunct peanut dryer facility (now owned by the city and used as a utility truck barn) will all be flats "protecting" the cars from untimely deaths.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.  Your timelines are quite unreasonable, but thanks for your overconfidence in me.   :D :RUEffinKiddingMe:
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 06:45:49 PM by Denver Road Doug »
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2014, 06:46:48 PM »
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So I mentioned "influences and inspiration".

Well, I have to admit that most of the inspiration came from seeing Chuck Geiger's BNSF Front Range Sub, because it is born of a similar style of real railroading, and being done in a compact format.

Influences...wwwwweeeellllll.   :facepalm: :scared:   Mostly somewhat negative in nature, as in influencing my upper extremities in a non-negotiable manner. (aka "forcing my hand")   Actually, while there is definitely truth to that statement, I did have a plan to keep moving forward with the "Saginaw Transfer", EVEN as recently as this past weekend.  It is in storage but the idea would have been to finish it and take it to shows to run.   But some things were bothering me about that plan...one being the fact that the ST will not be able to fit in my current living quarters, and another being that it is such a compromise from a prototype perspective that I felt I would be constantly trying to explain away the oddities of its arrangement.   That might seem insignificant, but to me it was bothersome.   One of the BIGGEST issues though was the difficulty I was having in moving the layout.  I originally designed it to fit in my previous vehicle...a Tahoe, but now with my Silverado it won't fit on the inside, nor even in the bed on the outside. (even if that was a good idea, which it isn't.)  So I was faced with building some type of boxes to haul them in so they could ride in the back without being destroyed by wind.   So, a construction project non involving layout progress was frustrating.

So I have been pondering my options.   Available space in my new place is a roughly 30"x56" table, so the idea of a test loop on a piece of foam came to mind.  That sort of morphed into what you see here....a "test loop on steroids".  But weirdly enough, I have developed a plan that incorporates a LOT of things I wanted, albeit with the fairly significant point of extremely diminished train length, that was already extremely diminished.   That's where I have to drop back down to reality and tell myself...it's only a test loop.   Oh, and it fits in my Silverado.  Barely.   :trollface:

And, a little further down to the road(read: sooner than later) I will likely be able to solve my train length issue, to some degree.   I was approached by a fellow A$$hat about possibly contributing a FreeMoN module or two to his collective.  So I think I may take him up on that.   8)
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2014, 07:14:19 PM »
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So I mentioned the "front flats".  Not a new concept.  Rossford Yard even had some variation of the them on his old layout, and I think there was an article in MR not long ago as well.   Here they will serve an additional purpose as well...keeping trains from hitting the floor while allowing me virtually a zero edge space...saving an inch or two which translates directly to keeping a workable minimum radius.

So I thought I would share some "rough drafts" to give an idea of what will be seen from the front of the layout.







The other side will most likely just be a mirror image, for the most part.   Not getting to extreme, although I'll probably put a loading dock on the back side of the Midwestern Mud building.  (they actually use an open air concrete ramp to unload the cars, for full disclosure....a little modelers license here of course)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 07:17:58 PM by Denver Road Doug »
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2014, 07:35:31 PM »
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Here are a couple of photos of Bowie, to grant some perspective...

This is looking down "Main Street" (actually called Mason Street in real life) where you see the Drilling Mud bldg to the right, the feed store to the left, then the railroad, then the downtown area behind.


This one is a closer view of the downtown area.  Significant is the post office to the right just before the intersection.   Everything will be compressed to the extreme...plan to model the intersection, with the buildings behind either being backdrop, flats, or possible one storefront in before yielding to backdrop.   And yes, those nice looking Atlas streetlights would be $weet.  :scared: 8)


Next, a look *railroad west*, with the boxcar to the left spotted at the mud facility.   To the right you'll see significant BNSF maintenance equipment where Bowie Milling used to be.   The MOW stuff was confined to the middle area on the other side of Mason in previous times.  In the center you can see a *tiny* light blue yard office which will be a very key structure as a signature Bowie spotting feature.  It is no longer there, replaced by the doublewide (seen off to the right in the photo) recently by BNSF.  (EDIT: Another photo of the yard office here: http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/52382558.jpg )


Finally, a "typical view" looking east back toward the feed store.  Bad pic, but shows the overflow boxcars destined for the mud facility, and the typical MOW cars hanging around.  The actual siding in Bowie is NOT a passing siding, and typically holds MOW cars or extra mud boxcars, et al.   On the layout it will function as a passing siding first and foremost, but staged pics still give it the look and feel of the configuration that exists in Bowie.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 08:06:35 PM by Denver Road Doug »
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SSW7771

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2014, 09:43:59 PM »
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Doug,

This is great. I am glad to see you found a way to get a layout in your new place. I would recommend broadening couple of the sharper curves if you can. You won't regret it when it comes to switching later on.

I like the zero space flat idea. Are you going to print these on card stock or photo paper applied to foam core board?

I was approached by a fellow A$$hat about possibly contributing a FreeMoN module or two to his collective.  So I think I may take him up on that.   8)

I wonder who that was. :D Sounds like a great idea to me.
Marshall

Denver Road Doug

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2014, 01:13:24 AM »
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I would recommend broadening couple of the sharper curves if you can. You won't regret it when it comes to switching later on.

Um, I already *did* broaden them.   :oops:   Honestly I don't see there being a ton of switching going on anyway so my main concern was a decent mainline radius...the best case run holds at 12-3/8 and I should be able to run most of my stuff on that.   A few things won't make the cut but I'll certainly have no shortage of rolling stock as a result.

I like the zero space flat idea. Are you going to print these on card stock or photo paper applied to foam core board?

Plan is the latter.  Foam core board or standard foam.

Quote
I wonder who that was. :D Sounds like a great idea to me.

Kidding aside, it is a really great idea.   The more I thought about it, the more it really made a ton of sense.   And especially now that it looks like you have a good line on the underlying benchwork standard.
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wazzou

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Re: BNSF Decatur Hill
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2014, 12:57:58 PM »
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OT and maybe a dumb question, but how do you save the Google Earth images?
Bryan

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