Author Topic: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s  (Read 6782 times)

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OldEastRR

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A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« on: July 10, 2015, 05:22:24 AM »
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I had a few other threads started on this before but not much to show. However now that I've worked through several large stumbling blocks on constructing the framework and scenery understructure, I think I can present a more coherent account of the project.
To refresh, this is the final version track plan:

... and I mean "plan" in a general sense, more of a guide than a precise plan.
None of the layout copies any specific scenes on the New Haven between Boston and Providence, except if by accident. The idea was to make a layout with New England towns, waterways, bridges, mill pond, woodlands, etc. and a double-track mainline. I also liked how Dave Popp's Naugatuck Valley modeled pulled-up redundant track. The red trackage in the plan represents track abandoned when two railroads that served the same town merged.
Then I built a very sturdy framework:

Which then had to be partially dismantled, redesigned, and rebuilt in new configuration to better support the layout (cantilevered beams may work with Legos, but not with layouts)
Then I got to my "new idea": making sectional platforms of solid plywood that carry the track (at different levels if needed), scenery, wiring, what have you, so the whole thing could be built, subroadbedded, wired, etc at a workbench, on sawhorses or an open floor, thus eliminating the usual  strains, aches and pains in butt that building a layout usually entails. Also, since the layout is in a finished apartment, painting, sawing and drilling in place was not acceptable:

The semi-finished sections, prepped with cookie-cutter Homasote for subroadbed and supports(note 2x2 piece in foreground screwed to the platform) for precise and stable grades and level areas, are then fastened securely to the framework. Tho you can't tell in the picture, the mainline (on the left) is on a gradual downslope away from the camera while the industrial switching area stays flat level. The grades are built into the section and don't need to be set or adjusted on the framework (which is dead level).
I've chosen to install the cork roadbed, track, foam scenery contours, buildings and such after the section is installed (I guess because I love to torture myself by standing half-bent over for hours) but obviously the whole unit could be completed at the workbench.
Needless to say, when somebody decides to build a layout not using any of the  standard or typical designs of layout construction there are a lot of dead-ends and failed experiments. I'm going to put all that in the first 3 chapters of the book I'm writing about building this layout so I needn't bore you with them here.

However, I think I've finally worked out the major bugs in the idea and my progress to running trains should be much faster now. I'll try to keep this thread current with each phase/area that gets done (or redone).

OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2015, 03:15:57 AM »
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Now that the basic framework and supports were finally done, I moved on to putting in the track subbed for the small NE mill town

Yep ... my "innovative" layout design looks like a big flat board. Well, it is. At least for the town area. Think of it as zero elevation for the terrain. Ground features and structures will be at various heights between zero elevation and up.

Cookie-cuttered and fitted together Homasote pieces form the sub roadbed for the track. The subroadbed is at various heights made by using Homasote and various pieces of Masonite and plywood thicknesses as bases and shims. Each of the three roadbeds going away from the camera are at different heights.

And then comes the cork roadbed. I figure using a Surform to first level and smooth the Homasote, then using it again to level and smooth the cork should give me a good even base for the track.
The next scenery step will be to cut various thicknesses and pieces of extruded Styrofoam to fill in the ground terrain between the Homasote strips. Then I'll carve foundations, roads, sloping ground, watercourses, etc. in the foam. After I install and the wire the track, of course!
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 03:17:54 AM by OldEastRR »

OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2015, 10:57:58 PM »
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When not wrestling with the layout benchwork, I work on kitbashing various DPM buildings into downtown structures. One is this large multi-use building, with two floors of either apartments or offices, then one floor of the other type, and a small movie theatre on the first. A small store is next to the theatre entrance:



This one is two small stores combined into one long front with a new cornice. This will probably become a dimestore. I'm wondering if I shouldn't have combined 3 of the same kits to make a block-long front.



Trying here to make a large department store building, specifically a Sears, Roebuck. I plan to make it retro-fitted with A/C equipment on the roof and some outside ducting. (The blank side walls on both large buildings will be next to the railroad mainline.)



 On the rear wall I put a small fancy front, like some department stores had facing their parking lots or a rear street. Because it's the secondary  entrance, it's not as elaborate as the main one but still has a little flash and one display window.











packers#1

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 12:03:49 AM »
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I really like what you've done with the DPM kitbashes; they definitely help change the character of the buildings from being just the same old DPM kits everyone has  8)
Sawyer Berry
Clemson University graduate, c/o 2018

OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2015, 11:21:15 PM »
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So when you mix different brands of track on the same layout, engineering the roadbed is another prototypical "model" you get to do:


Here's where Peco Code 55, Peco Code 80, Micro Engineering Code 55 v.2, and some handlaid Code 55 track all come together
 at a junction. The Peco 80 has ties a mile thick, its Code 55 somewhat thinner, the ME stuff even thinner, and the handlaid
 switch is on circuit board. So the roadbed had to be graded out to different heights.


The handlaid track comes in from the left, attaches to a modified Peco 55 "conversion" track that feeds into a Peco 80 crossing.



The Peco 80 crossing then feeds back onto a Peco 55 conversion which feeds into a ME track.



Another angle: 80 on left, 55 in center, ME just at the RH edge -- you can see the joiner between the modified Peco and the ME track.



Peco 55 on left (in center) 80 on right. Peco sank the "code 55" rails into the ties but left the ties the same thickness as the Code 80 stuff. The rails line up correctly, but then the Code 55 stuff floats above the roadbed. Luckily cork is easily adjustable.

Oh and my Frankenstein layout also uses Atlas Code 80 and 55 in places. :o Model railroading is fun!

OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2015, 05:04:00 AM »
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I wanted a rerailer in my industrial area, but disguised it as a track scale instead of a road crossing. I just wonder if the building is too deep. Should I make it narrower?

I'm going to put some steel hatches in the platform, fab front windows and add end windows in the scalehouse. I may lose the platform opposite the shed, too. Scales I've seen  don't have that. And the whole thing has to be sunk into the dirt.

Rich_S

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2015, 06:09:03 PM »
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I wanted a rerailer in my industrial area, but disguised it as a track scale instead of a road crossing. I just wonder if the building is too deep. Should I make it narrower?



I think the scale house looks good, I would not make it any narrower.

http://www.montourrr.com/images/Montour%20Junction/NewScalebwgpsmtrjct.jpg

« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 06:11:31 PM by Rich_S »

OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2015, 09:56:54 PM »
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After laying the cork roadbed and laying track (until I ran out), and doing a whole bunch of wiring, I got back to some scenery work. The next step in this scene was to fit extruded foam pieces in the spaces between the track ROWs.
 


The plywood base everything sits on is level through the whole area. I used the highest point of land in each area to determine how thick a foam sheet or combination to use (I have 1/2", 1", and 2"). At this junction, the land starts higher near the backdrop then slopes gently downward toward the front of the layout. This is the rough cut. A small creek will run through this area -- you can see I started to gouge out the foam for it next to the end of the siding.



The ground is not only sloping down toward the front of the layout, but also from the left to the right. My goal is the only level ground in the scene will be the track, building foundations, and some of the roads/sidewalks. You can see foam sheet sticking up above the track here, but it's level with the track further back. The raised areas on the high side are cut and sanded down to form ditches and a ground line lower than the lower trackwork, then a grade sanded in between the two sides of the sheet.
The dark gray rectangle in the center is where the station sits. The ground slopes up from the track in front of it to the spur running behind it. And there's a parking lot around the station. The finished scene will have multiple slopes and elevations, including for the road to the right of the station.



I also was pinning strips of cardboard (cut-up cereal boxes) to the foam to mark the placement of roads. Thought I might as well set out the buildings, mock-ups and kitbashes-in-progress of the town too.
This shot is almost the same angle as the first one in this post:



One with the station in place, different camera angle:



Downtown:



Now, I mocked  up the entire town on a big piece of cardboard, drew in all the streets and ROWs, sidewalks, everything carefully measured and placed - yet once I got to the finished model I found I had 2 extra city half-blocks of space in my town. How that happened I have no idea, but it's why I'm looking for wooden "downtown-type" structures  to fill it.

MVW

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2015, 10:55:07 PM »
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Very cool. It's fun watching your scenes take shape. Congrats on the progress!

Jim

OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2016, 08:26:41 PM »
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I've been moving along on the layout steadily but posting a report (taking pix, transferring them to Photobucket, retrieving them from same, etc) uses time that I could be layout building. However, for the 3 or 4 people out there who are interested, here's the latest pix:

The Town hasn't changed much except for some track being laid.





The Country was the part of the baseboard section that was going to be cut away, but the longer that open space sat there the more I thought I should do something with it. Then a track plan rearrangement eliminated the original location for the creamery, and so it's going here. This section of the layout will be a completely rural scene, with creamery, trees, cows, possibly the farmhouse.



Dunphy Industrial Park now has its trackage in and the buildings more or less finalized as for size and placement. I wanted the "canyon of factories" look so I used or reworked kits to make tall industrial buildings. The local running through here has cars that I reworked into NH prototypes (or close enough). The two closest covered hoppers are Katos with holes cut in their sides, the last is a heavily rebuilt Deluxe Innovations version.



This is a front RH side view of the DIP. The brown building will have the loading docks dropped to track level once I add another floor to this side. The elevator/milling plant makes a good-sized industrial installation with two spotting sites.



Wouldn't be a NE industrial scene without a tall tower on a building. Haven't decided if I should put a large clock at the top or not. The building to the left of this is the new addition added to this original building.



I love this huge uniform wall of windows as a factory. But a strange twist: you've all seen layouts (usually HO) with a small factory building and a boxcar on its siding almost as big as the whole building ... here is a reverse situation: a six-story building that is (presumably) a block long, yet it has only ONE loading door for boxcars. Looks just as ridiculous, right? But I explain that away as this is the addition; the main building still has enough loading docks.



A shot of the scale (building still needs mullioned windows) hiding the rerailer track.



And a look down the main from the back window of the RS cab:



The track embankment from the center of the layout curves around and emerges on the LH end of the DIP (gotta change that name) to cross the big through truss. In the small space behind that curve I stuck in a small plant with a dummy track siding. This place also has a spur on my trackage (shiny rails in the upper LH corner). This building partly covers the end of the backdrop for The Town, and may merge to the factory on the other side of that backdrop.



The main diverges on the right side of the DIP and one line goes upgrade through the center of the layout between the two backdrops into The Factory Site. The creamery spur comes off this line, and further down a couple of spurs come down the embankment to serve a factory. There's space for an operator right next to it, though you need to duck under (ugh!) to get there.



Here's where I'm to build the roadbed and track to join all these sections into a continuous run. There''s a river and mill pond going here, too. The track leading back to The Town is just beyond the blue foam blocks.



Skipping over that area we reach the through truss (lower left) that spans the river/mill pond and goes into The Town.



Where I have a real estate surplus somehow. I can't figure out how this happened: I cut out a full-size base of the entire town out of cardboard, carefully drew in roads and placed all the structures including the yet-to-buy ones, then built to the exact sizes of my mock-up. Yet somehow I managed to wind up with another block and a half of town to fill -- the
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 11:18:37 PM by OldEastRR »


mmagliaro

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2016, 02:24:35 PM »
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So far, I really like the use of varied elevations and the overpasses and crossings, especially those areas where the tracks
come in with roadways, terrain and buildings above them.   Having ridden commuter trains into cities like New York and Philadelphia, I am getting that feel from what I see in your layout.

There is a surprising amount of visual "drama" created in a relatively small space, and so far,
it isn't giving me the feeling that it's too "packed with track".  It think the urban/industrial theme helps with that,
because the trains look and feel like they are mixed in with the buildings and streets closely, the way those
areas so often are, without looking out of place.

One thing to watch out for.  Perhaps you have already noticed, but I picked up a couple of places in your
photos where I can see definite kinks in the curved trackwork.  I will try to go through the photos and pick them
out so I can show you.  That's a minor quibble at this stage of building and this is the time to fix things like that
before they become headaches.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 04:26:11 PM by mmagliaro »

wm3798

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2016, 03:02:39 PM »
+1
I like the way this is progressing.  Like Max, I pick up on little things that probably aren't even things yet... but if left untended, will become big things.

First, a quick and easy thing that will improve the finish work is to take a sanding block and smooth the edges of your cork roadbed over.  Those jagged little edges can be a pain when it comes to placing ballast.

Second, I see you're using a lot of bridges for both highway and railroad track.  This will add considerably to your awesomeness factor, but only if you do those bridge nicely.  Don't forget to cut back your sub roadbed enough to allow for abutments, and make sure you provide for enough vertical clearance for the locations where the trains run underneath.  At the very least, get a high cube modern box car and make sure it's comfortably under the lowest beams.  Also, make sure your bridge sections are reasonably supported, and built to realistic lengths.  The one highway bridge looks to be an awfully long span, but it looks like you're leaving room for future piers.  Good thinking.

Third, I love the kitbashed structures, but am a bit wary of the quality of your cuts and joints.  Paint and details can mask some of the rougher ones, and you can always glue on some ivy for the real klinkers, but if you have too much lipstick, it's hard to see the pig...

Fourth... I LOVE the jelly bean shape of the benchwork.  It really adds to the flow of the track and scenery.  The long gently curving mains are going to be really nice.  But I'm looking at your road intersections, and they seem to be at right angles to the track...  Shifting everything a few degrees one way or the other can make for some additional viewing angles, and create some interesting real estate shapes that can further scratch your kitbashing itch.

Finally, from an operational standpoint, I see lots of switching opportunities, plus RDC passenger service, and I imagine some thru freights, but I don't see much in the way of a yard or even fiddle tracks for sorting and staging.  Is there provision for that somewhere "off stage"?

Lee


« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 03:04:30 PM by wm3798 »
Rockin' It Old School

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OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2016, 01:19:46 AM »
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Thanks to Lee and Max for commenting! I get so few comments on this I wondered if people just yawned when they look it over.

The track kinks -- I'm still at the "let's see if the locos run over this w/o stalling anywhere" stage. No joiners have been soldered, no trackwork glued down. I try to eyeball the curves since they are so large I can't make templates, but I'm sure I got  some wrong. Interestingly I'm finding I put short sections of  straight track in the midst of the giant curves. Not noticeable look at them overall, but sighting down the track they are evident. Nothing wrong with them, the odd straight part in a wide curve maybe makes it look prototypical.

Yes, the shoulders of the cork roadbed... I recently "noticed" them myself and started sanding/rubbing them down smooth. Luckily I have a friend who likes to inspect the roadbed and smooth out high and lows spots. He now will have an extra job of cork edge rubbing.

Two sided center backdrops help to separate scenes and track density; the other trick is leaving open gaps in the benchwork between dissimilar scenes. It's an interesting optical trick to play on the eyes for they tend to concentrate on the "island" of each scene without linking them. Since I wanted a mid-sized town, an heavy industry area, a countryside farm, a rocks/water/track area, and possibly a large city scene with skyscrapers, all on the layout, I had to come up with a way to separate them instead of trying to build unrealistic scenery linking them all together. (how do you put skyscrapers next to a rural creamery?)

All those bridges (and more) were on my old layout, and I didn't want to toss them, so I conjured up various terrain and structure placements to make them look plausible. Once the track plan is done, it's not that hard to make the terrain look like it was there before the track. One thing I definitely wanted in the mid-size town was no two building foundations at the exact same elevation (the  town's built on a compound slope).
Except for the Walthers double-track truss I stretched about 4", all the other RR bridges are as-built from the kit, so I assume they are correct for their use. I also recently "noticed" the road overpass was way too long without supports. Actually on my old layout it had two piers under it and they will be emplaced once I bulk them up a bit. As for clearances, I'm using the NMRA gauge for all the mainlines. I put a somewhat lower clearance where a spur goes under a bridge right next to the abutment, but that will have a special track order specifying only a 44-tonner be used to switch it.
I'm wondering if the Walthers bridge should have a center pier and be broken up into 2 spans. But I've seen massive RR trusses in the east, so if it looks good to you guys, then I'll leave it.

Kitbashed buildings: that's about the only structures I use now. Not only do I not want something that exactly matches buildings on a lot of layouts, but Walthers, Woodland Scenics, etc have the annoying habit of making buildings that don't fit the places I want to put them. :x My downtown business block may look like bombed-out Berlin right now, but I'm cutting up and refabbing walls so they fit together. Finishing them to look decent will come when I start assembling them permanently. (And like the bridges, many buildings  are refugees from the old layout, who themselves need rework to fit their new roles).
I do love making factory kits into large imposing structures, so that usually means two kits needed, or maklng just a fa├žade against a backdrop. Anything building you see being held together with masking tape is waiting to be properly assembled and finished.

The "jelly bean" sorta happened by itself. I started out with the usual squared-off space for the layout, but I wanted long wide curves right up front for the mucho passenger equipment the NH ran (club-sized curves). So after putting those in along the front and up the RH side, I had this cut-off corner that I really couldn't think of to use anything for (I didn't want just filler scenery), so I lopped it off. The reach-in would have been too far, anyway. The open spaces inside it were planned, partly for the optical illusion trick I mentioned before and for occasional maintenance. Except the smaller industrial  area and the creamery spur popped into existence around the larger one so now its an operating pit for switching there.

Sorry about the RR crossings, but the town grew up alongside the RR so the street grid is aligned to the track. It's a strict grid because I'm bugged by layouts where the towns are scattered buildings and non-aligned streets angled all which ways (Max knows this too well). Maybe there are towns like that somewhere in the US, but I've never seen one. Again, once the track plan is complete, it's not that hard to imagineer a plausible city and street grid to match the main, spurs, and industries you want. The overpass through the industrial district is at angles to the main (too busy and congested an area for grade crossings), and I've yet to place the streets in the other scenes. I'll have some angled grade crossings there. I guess.

Yard. Um, yes, about that. At first my plan was just have a lot of passenger trains running the double-track main and splitting off at junctions, sidings, etc. There was a terminal with multiple tracks to turn and store trains between runs. Considering the NH had tons of commuter and through passenger stuff, that would be enough to make things interesting, including breaking and re-joining trains at junctions.
Then the terminal was moved off the main layout section onto a peninsula, then it vanished. And the industrial area wound up with more freight traffic than I thought it would, plus the town, plus spurs and industries that appeared along the main -- I'm going to leave an unfinished section of layout where I can have a double-track main branch off onto a peninsula against the wall and feed into a yard or terminal or combination, or something, maybe just staging. I haven't planned out how many trains I'm going to run, but obviously now it will be a mix of lotsa passenger (RDCs too) and some freight.

The track plan went through some more revisions, to resolve grade nightmares and reversing track troubles:



It somehow mutated into a figure-8 and a folded dogbone merging together along one stretch to share track. Great for dispatching, I suppose. But I get to keep my two-way double track traffic without having any reversing tracks anywhere. This is my first DCC layout, so I want to keep it simple.
The yard-whatever would get tacked onto the left side of the upper end. That will involve a reversing circuit.






OldEastRR

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Re: A stylized version of the NYNH&H in eastern MA, mid-'50s
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2016, 08:54:46 PM »
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This for Lee:



The building in almost finished condition (a rubber band is holding the 4 walls together). The splices are not very noticeable. Sometimes they look like spalled (or cracked) concrete so I leave them and touch them up with some paint. I still need to do some repainting and touchup here but construction is complete. And weather it heavily like a NE industry should be.