Author Topic: CN Yellowhead Division  (Read 31209 times)

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GaryHinshaw

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2017, 04:58:31 PM »
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The closest cousin to Scott's Yellowhead concept that I'm aware of is Grant Eastman's well-known SAR.  Scott, you should arrange your next travel plans to take you through Calgary so you can check it out.

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2018, 05:55:40 PM »
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I've spent some time revisiting this layout idea in recent weeks.  We are planning a garage again so I have a large canvas to work with (about 14' X 20').  The original geography:

Yellowhead Division by Scott L, on Flickr

Below is a first cut of the main locations and some crude track and aisle placement.  I've set the aisle to 36" as indicated by the gray rectangles, and this gives me room for a long double level run from Edson to Jasper.  I have also simplified the Coal Branch to a single mine, envision switching at Hinton (paper and lumber mills), and a loop connection from Jasper to the Grande Cache sub.   

There are enough passing sidings to make operations mostly about getting trains from Edson to Jasper while allowing a Hinton local out of Jasper, and trains coming in from the Grande Cache, Obed and Coal Branches. 

March 2018 by Scott L, on Flickr

There is lots of room for spectacular scenery on the top deck, passing through Jasper National Park.  There is also a really great bridge just west of Hinton that would be a fun modelling project. 

I've spent a lot of time contemplating alternatives, but this gives me a layout to run with, potential to have a number of operators and some varied operations, and keeps me with the modern CN that I like so much.  I think this is something I could build in a 5-10 year time scale and enjoy to run.

PGE_Modeller

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2018, 08:28:56 PM »
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His personal website has galleries and this one really stood out:  it is in the Jasper gallery but is unmistakably Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies:  http://www.telusplanet.net/public/crowley/Jasper/PBYdawn.JPG

Thanks for the link to Dan Crowley's website, Scott.  The photo you happened to link to showing an RCAF Canso with Mt. Robson in the background brought back memories as these a/c were the fixed-wing mainstay of RCAF Search & Rescue on the West Coast in the mid-late 1950s until they were replaced by the Grumman Albatross in 1959-1960.

Cheers,

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2018, 02:08:33 PM »
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I've been mulling over different layout ideas and space combinations for the next layout.  As much as a garage has its attraction, I can't see making headway on such a large layout in the next 5-10 years that I expect to be in this house.  I've taken to looking at my current layout room with an eye to additionally using the space that is currently occupied by my workbench.  An around the room design is still not particularly viable due to the furnace access. 

I've revisited the Yellowhead Division as a possible layout theme.  My goals for this next layout are to emphasize more varied and interesting operation, with the potential to host operations for perhaps 3-4 people, but with a simple enough design that I can also just run it myself.  I want something with some scenic possibilities, but operationally it needs to be appropriate for varied equipment and longer trains.  The Yellowhead Division would focus on the west end of CN's Edson Subdivision, with lots of trains, some industry along the route, and other feeder lines that add to the interest and traffic.  The Jasper end of the line is very scenic as well.  I'm quite familiar with the area from years of railfanning in the area.

The space overall is about 10’ X 12’, with a corner for the furnace and storage closet.  The remaining space has 7’ ceiling, except where it gets down to 64” in the back of the work space. 

I've tried a few ideas and returned several times to a structure I originally used for my Rio Grande Tennessee Pass layout in 2007-8 in the same space.  It was composed of two levels, with a third "middle" level used to unbundle the helix a bit to add more visible running.  I built the primary bench work for this layout back in 2007 and it all mostly worked, but I abandoned the layout as beyond my skills at the time.  I've since built a few layouts and feel I can handle many of the complexities this is going to involve.

This version echoes that original bench work structure, with the addition of extensions to the work space where a helix connects the levels.  This design would require reversing the door to the room, which currently opens inwards, and would require bench work across the door opening, but I think this is manageable (and I have permission!).  The upper deck would be mostly permanent and the lower deck would be some kind of swing gate that would allow access to the room.

The way the layout is designed, I have good reach distances to the visible trackage, and the hidden track and helixes would be accessible through an opening behind the backdrops.  The main helix in the work room would be double tracked and provide considerable linear storage to act as the Edson yard.

I have also envisioned feeders to the Foothills and Grande Cache subs that would support traffic to the mainline.  These will have their own built-in storage on the hidden approach tracks.  The Grande Cache sub would be level with Jasper, while the Foothills sub would require a helix down to the lower level.  This latter complexity is something that I think may not be worth the effort, but I'll maintain for now as I plan.  The Foothills sub produces coal and sulphur, while the Grande Cache produces coal, sulphur, lumber, grain and even manifest traffic, so the latter is more interesting to include if I need to eliminate one.

There are several areas that still need to be sorted out in 3D space, especially where the middle and lower levels come together at Obed.  The vertical separation is not likely to be large, about 6-8", so I need to be careful about views and overlapping scenes.  I want to make sure to avoid the look of stacked scenes and spaghetti track wherever possible.  I contemplated some kind of switching operation at Hinton where there is a pulp mill and other industry, but the middle level is too far back to make that comfortable, so I have gone with a simple scenic run using the bridge across the Athabasca River as a visual anchor.

Here are some images to give you an idea of what I am thinking.  Comments are welcome!


This is the context again for those who are not familiar with the region.  It is west of Edmonton in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. 

Yellowhead Division by Scott L, on Flickr

Here are the layout ideas.  The overall track plan looks busy when stacked like this, but the subsequent images break it out to the individual visible levels. 

Overall v1 by Scott L, on Flickr

Lower level v1 by Scott L, on Flickr

Upper level v1 by Scott L, on Flickr
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 02:19:46 PM by Scottl »

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2018, 05:08:06 PM »
+1
More playing with this layout idea. 

I have worked out some of the spatial problems from the earlier version and I am liking where this is going.  I have shifted to a serial staging with the large helix and a shorter prototype run- now covering Hinton to Jasper.  Hinton has become a switching center (only detailed vaguely here) and there is a longer operational mainline to operate bi-directional traffic.  I like most of the view perspectives here, and there are some nice scenes.  There are also three passing sidings, one major switching area (Hinton) and considerable serial storage.  I simplified the tracks on the sections that cross the entrance to the room (bottom-center of the drawings), as I see the lower level as a swing gate and the upper as a semi-permanent removable structure.  There would be access to the helixes from below. 

I'm not in rush to move on this, but I think this is a layout that I can build, would be interesting to operate, and is not too much track for the room.  I still want nice scenery and long modern trains and this prototype fits the bill nicely.




Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2022, 11:55:06 AM »
+1
I've resurrected this thread as my interests have shifted back to the Yellowhead Division.  Now that my new layout space is locked in by walls, I've had to come to terms with what I can accomplish with the space and to meet my needs.  I'm also thinking about my strengths and interests in a layout and scenery comes to the top of the list.  I've also become increasingly concerned about over-engineering a layout that will not operate well and be too complicated to make progress.  I've especially had a difficult time reconciling the multi-deck Grande Cache Sub envisioned in my other thread https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=51990.msg744467#msg744467 with the big bridges needed.  A final concern is the seemingly endless pine trees the Grande Cache Sub would require.

I'm exploring a return to the simpler mainline theme I contemplated in this thread, but with less geographic extent.  The plan here is a simple two-deck run of the CN Edson Sub from Swan Landing to Jasper through scenic Jasper park.  Both yards offer some train handling and operations, with a passing at Devona.  I've put the eastern half of the plan on the top deck to have more vertical for scenery, especially at Park Gate and Devona, but the separation of the decks is planned as 14" with grades of 2.1%. 

This is a version I am contemplating (1' grid).  I'm debating replacing the helix with loops at either end.





Cajonpassfan

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2022, 10:09:05 PM »
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Simple RS is better, imho.
I would suggest making the upper deck above Jasper a bit shallower for ease of viewing (and maintenance) the lower deck.
Otto K.

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2022, 11:04:26 AM »
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Thanks Otto, that is a good point.  I copied the benchwork from the lower level but will narrow the upper deck quite a bit.

I'm leaning towards reverse loops on either end, both to reduce the hidden run and to avoid the potential operational risks. 

packers#1

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2022, 12:15:47 PM »
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I don’t have experience with multi deck layouts so take this with a huge grain of salt, but given you’re basically running yard to yard, I don’t see how a helix really does anything other than help you re-stage trains if directional running matters since you’re doing a nolix. Once you get to the yard, just have the train turn and then BAM, there’s your other direction counterpart for next session, or your next manifest in the time cycle.
Sawyer Berry
Clemson University graduate, c/o 2018
American manufacturing isn’t dead, it’s just gotten high tech

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2022, 03:40:13 PM »
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That is my thinking too.

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2022, 05:13:04 PM »
+1
I've been working away on different ideas for the layout as the new room becomes a reality.  With the drywall going up this weekend, the room is nearing completion!

Yesterday I was fortunate to join an informal operations group on Grant Eastman's epic Southern Alberta Railroad (SAR). It is a superb layout with many of the operational aspects I aspire to so it reinforced my thinking on some recent design ideas I have been working on.  I could not put the grid in the image but the room is fixed at 13' X 13'.

Below is the most current thinking for the layout I am planning.  I have shifted back to the CN mainline between Hinton and Jasper, Alberta.  This is a spectacular and very busy mainline with all types of traffic and some of the best mountain scenery to be found.

The plan is a end-to-end with loops in order to reverse trains.  I have decided I don't want a long helix, both for the operational risks and due to the construction challenge.  The mainline climbs around the room and gives decent vertical separation with modest grades.  Staging is in the visible yards at both ends as well as the important Swan Landing junction.  I have been able to add a return to complete a loop that makes this junction with the Grande Cache Sub operational (and adds quite a bit of serial staging). The small sub level at Hinton provides switching at the paper and saw mills located there and is served by a local out of Jasper.

This layout allows me to develop some very nice scenes from the mainline, including:

Hinton https://railpictures.net/photo/762531/

Prairie Creek trestle west of Hinton https://railpictures.net/photo/786315/

Swan Landing https://railpictures.net/photo/728834/

Park Gate https://railpictures.net/photo/768471/

Windy Point https://railpictures.net/photo/636775//

Snaring River (there are two spans here) https://railpictures.net/photo/369936/

English/Henry House https://railpictures.net/photo/803574/

Jasper https://railpictures.net/photo/787303/

Giekie (near Yellowhead Pass at the Continental Divide) https://railpictures.net/photo/626888/

I was able to maintain good standards for the main line trackage (18"R minimum, 2.0% grade) with some tighter curves and steeper grades in the end loops and the mill trackage (16"R, 3.0% mill track).  The Grande Cache Sub hidden track is a long 3.1% grade so I expect most trains will be going down rather than climbing. 

« Last Edit: September 27, 2022, 09:55:45 AM by Scottl »

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2022, 08:04:57 AM »
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Construction materials are in hand and I hope to have the first benchwork up this week.  FB marketplace has come through with a local supplier of inexpensive plywood and my nephew supplied a truck load of foam board leftovers from a construction site (including some 4" boards!).  My testing of an Arduino system for servo control of my turnouts is progressing nicely but the first part of the layout will use my on-hand Tortoise and NCE controls.  Everything seems to be coming together nicely.

I had planned to start with the lower deck (Hinton-Park Gate) first but a friend mentioned in passing that multi-deck layouts are usually constructed from the top downwards.  I can see the advantage of the latter but is this really the norm?  Any experiences with this issue?

Cajonpassfan

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2022, 10:54:54 AM »
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Hi Scott,
in my experience, starting benchwork and track boards and even trackwork on the lower lever and building up is much preferable. I've done it both ways, due to long term phasing needs, but adding anything substantial under the upper deck was a real PITA. Having said that, I think that given the relatively manageable size of this layout and its design, I would probably start in the upper right hand corner and build all three levels at once; it will be very difficult to get in there once the benchwork surrounding it is built.

I have some minor comments on your plan I'll share with you when I have a bit of time later.
Regards, Otto

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2022, 11:05:33 AM »
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I did all the "heavy" construction on both decks at the same time, but I'm going to say that I 100% prefer doing the "light" construction (wiring, track, switches) on the upper deck BEFORE anything is in on the lower.

First is gives me a great big space for mise en place and second, it means that I'm not worrying about leaning on anything I can damage while I'm fighting with stuff.

Scottl

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Re: CN Yellowhead Division
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2022, 01:55:18 PM »
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Thanks both for the responses.  I definitely agree with building all of the hidden loop area in the top right corner early on.

I'd welcome any feedback on the plan, Otto.  I've modified the plan in a few spots, but the material change is to increase the vertical separation between decks by adding a loop before Park Gate and two additional loops in the top right corner.  This gives about 6.5" more vertical separation and some scenic room to breathe, especially for the special Park Gate scene.

I've also switched from the tall Prairie Creek bridge (lower level, bottom wall near door) to the Athabasca River bridge that is located in the same area.  I just like the latter more and it is a neat scene with better spatial constraint.  Here is a good image to get an idea of the scene https://railpictures.net/photo/287270/.