Author Topic: How do you pare down?  (Read 995 times)

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daniel_leavitt2000

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How do you pare down?
« on: January 16, 2018, 11:29:46 PM »
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I'm still, slowly, working on the Boston line. Even though I have 700+ square feet, there is no way I can fit in what I want. What do you guys do in this situation? How do you choose between an iconic local that sets the scene, or feathering out the trackage for operations?

One of the bigger issues is that Boston is the very definition of a terminal. Nothing goes east. Nothing goes north (with the exception of the very small and absurdly named Grand Junction). Only empties go west. This results in lop-sided operations, and requires a larger focus on Worcester. And Worcester is massive. For operations to work in Worcester, Framingham, and Westboro yards and industries need to be modeled. But Worcester - Westboro - Framingham - Boston is far too much to fit in the basement, even when removing the Guilford, Grafton & Upton, and Providence & Worcester interchanges. And those are what makes operations interesting.

I'm at the point now where I'm considering a series of large vignettes of each location book-ended with shelving. Pass-though tracks would run behind blank panels in the bookcase. But this solution is imperfect. Vistas - especially Worcester, will be all but impossible. Of course there is selective compression. But this will ruin the tie-for-tie look I really wanted for these scenes.
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narrowminded

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 11:42:01 PM »
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... Only empties go west.

I wish I had some good advice for you on your question but... I saw this and couldn't help but tell this. 

Growing up, anything headed for the trash was referred to as a "west bound".   My grandfather was a stationmaster for the Boston and Maine and I was a young adult growing up in Pittsburgh before I knew that this common reference in our house wasn't common to all.  It was then that the background was explained to me, exactly as you described it.  That's not an empty or headed for the trash bin, "that's a westbound". :)
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Dave V

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 11:53:01 PM »
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Exactly the problem I had trying to fit the world's busiest 4-track main on a hollow core door.

I did finally come up with a solution.

I switched prototype, scale, and gauge.

Other than a daily Galloping Goose each way my road was lucky to run three or for trains a week.

In all seriousness, the overwhelming chore of trying to design a follow-on to the Juniata Division that could better represent the Penny's Middle Division helped push me away from it.

So I pared down to zero. 
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 11:58:49 PM »
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I already have an alternative layout - a B&M shelf that features all steam and based during the depression. That's gong up in Thailand as soon as we have the water problems resolved. I sketched that plan out in an afternoon.

But I am far, far too invested in Conrail equipment to try anything else for the main layout.
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nuno81291

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 12:05:53 AM »
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Talk about some territory... that is a massive area and the operationally interesting segments must be in the geographic range of how many miles? I think the only way to go would be vignettes compressed to the point you can live with, or focusing on one and making a large staging area to support ops there. Such as modeling Boston and staging that can represent all traffic in/out including the grand junction etc. or perhaps Worcester and staging for all points around. This sort of railroading you want is just massive (being a native MA resident)... I think you either need a lot more room and an army of people, or to go the shadow box route with maybe only a few significant operating points like large yards.. I can’t imagine trying to even model south station, that throat and anything to the west... what an undertaking. I fit a few distilled versions of the Claremont and concord planned for doubledeck in a 200sq ft. That was 10 lbs of Railroad in a 1 lb bag, yours is more like 1,000,000 lbs relatively. What ever you end up doing I would love to see as a local. When it comes to this sort of thing you really need to know yourself; would you be happy just modeling yard ops and yard limit industries at Worcester? It sounds to me like you need to get a feel for how compressed you could make some of these LDEs, and in the process I am sure you will do some soul searching and distilling of where on the line you need and where you don’t. If modeling beacon park  yard takes 15 feet, you will get a feel for how large some of these elements are and maybe that can help. I will say my best aha moments layout planning came while sleeping after ruminating on my available space and prototypes. I don’t have room to build what I would like now so protofreelancing it is for me, until I have room for an HO scale CCRR  :trollface:
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 12:24:01 AM by nuno81291 »
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Philip H

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 08:17:20 AM »
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I'm having a tough time telling what you really want.  Is it the actual recreation of Boston-based ops, or is it the look of Boston based ops? My sense is the latter, and if that's the case you don't really have the space. Even in N scale.  Clearly you know this.

That said, is there a signature secondary site affiliated with Boston - a secondary yard built to handle overflow traffic, or an junction with other railroads that has lots of action but not much yard?  If the answer is yes, perhaps that's the place to model, and let staging be Boston.
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 09:51:55 AM »
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Ok. So... close your eyes and picture "The Boston Line" in your mind.

What do you see?

Can you get away with just doing Worchester, and then having staging on both ends?

Or what about Beacon Park, with staging on one end?

I knew I wouldn't have the space for all of the NCR in this house, but I lucked out in that the availability of Lee's yard made me focus on one thing. The rest is represented by staging (and the most annoying to build end loop ever... the city of York). Might the same thing work for you?

cne_craig

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 04:51:13 PM »
+1
Hi Dan,

I would recommend you go through a Need/Want type of analysis.  You could break it down to various aspects like Scenery, Operations, Points of Interest and use it to define/refine your passion points.  For example, I've always noted your interest in detail, clearly your locomotives and cars show that and I suspect that carries to scenic areas.  Trying to model large areas like beacon yard and worcester yards may be too much and delagating them as staging areas relieves that burden.  Now you can focus on the intermediate areas Westboro and Framingham yards with their industries and passenger operations.  I would imagine Framingham would be a favorite since its your back yard.

Another idea would be to shift the area further west along the B&A line.  I always like the Palmer area since it had interesting interchange with CV/NCER and MassCentral. 

Cheers,
Craig

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2018, 06:42:03 PM »
+1
There are a few main scenes that I think of the Boston line:
1. South station's grand entrance at the terminus of the layout.
2. Commuter trains running by the green monster at Fenway with the Citgo sign in the background (I have the Miller Engineering sign already)
3. Downtown Framingham including the old depot and the Dennison building (which could be flat against the backdrop)
4. Worcester Union Station, which is built and ready to add to the layout.

Operationally, I am not sure what I want. It would be great if I could do some intermodal runs from Boston. Do yard switching and build local trains that dissapear out of view on branch lines. Interchanges with P&W, would be great. G&A would be fun but not a necessity.

I need return loops off stage because I know I just want to watch the trains running though scenery.
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C855B

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 07:11:09 PM »
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I went through a similar paring-down from trying to pack too much in even though I started with a large space. I realize that my GC&W thread is a novel suffering moments of "too much information", but in the first 21 pages if you skip over the building construction nonsense, you'll see the iterations of the plan, and read the thinking out loud about what to cut and what not to. This occurred over a period of 18 months; maybe the insight will shorten your process.

The station/feature list on page 1 is the start, and the plan on page 21 is pretty close to the current working diagram with just a handful of minor tweaks. You may need to force refresh of each page since old images stored offline lose their place in the new TRW caching scheme.
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 08:41:56 PM »
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I think I may give up on the open concept of the layout and go with location specific dioramas. This will let me place Worcester Westboro and Framingham just feet apart. This will require a LOT more carpentry work boxing everything. I will also have to figure out how to access the vast amounts of hidden trackage.

There are a few major advantages to this.

1. I can control lighting very specifically by location.
2. The truncated field of view will make modeling areas much easier and focus the viewer to "the way I see my world".
3. Rather than compress the "dead" areas between the action, there simply won't be any areas between the action, just a view stop and some shelving.

I am also thinking about the possibility of adding connected areas below the diorama. For example, a track leads off Framingham yard on the main level to a diorama of the GM distribution center below. This would allow complicated operations and more industries. But would also mean a LOT more hidden trackage.

The layout would look something like this - running counter clockwise:
1. Worcester Union Station and intermodal yard with P&W interchange below it.
2. G&U interchange
3. Westboro yard and industries.
4. Nevins yard Framingham, Old Station and Dennison. Framingham North yard below,
5. Fenway and South Station with Beacon Park and Grand Junction below.

Somehow I need to figure out how to fit return loops on each side of the layout that can take long strings of autoracks backwards.

What do you guys think?
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jpec

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Re: How do you pare down?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 12:48:12 AM »
+1
Legos, dominoes, vignettes ...whatever you want to call them. Figure out your signature scenes,  draw them separately,  work them around your space, trim out what won't work then connect your sections with breaks of generic scenery.  Maybe Boston ends up as a hidden staging area and the rest works. Then factor in how you're going to build it - by yourself? Dedicated crew? Then once it's up, who's going to run and maintain it? Again, you? A group? Will you be able to pop in to the layout room, flip a switch and start running trains or spend an hour getting it running and at the end of the hour, the desire has waned.

I say this from experience - as a teenager, the V & O  Story was playing out in RMC. I thought I had to have that. I filled a 28' x 25' area with an HO  layout and when I got done, I said great...what now? I had 2 friends interested in model trains and one was moving away. No internet back then and if a young person went to a club, about the only thing you found was the exit because the old guys didn't want young long hairs hanging around. I ended up tearing the whole thing down and building a 2' x 8 ' switching layout I had way more fun with.

Please don't look on this as trying to marginalize your vision but more as something to contemplate before undertaking a large project such as this.

Jeff
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 12:51:21 AM by jpec »
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