Author Topic: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout  (Read 4370 times)

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ChristianJDavis1

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Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« on: July 13, 2019, 03:35:38 AM »
+7
Well, for once I can finally say I've done some "modelling."

What started as a normal Thursday at the DKS compound, beginning with some light outdoor work before heading off to lunch and coming back to talk for a few hours ended with me doing some work on a smaller scale. First it was "here Chris, play with this spare sectional track." After that, it became "Chris, you could build this with your sectional track." Then a board was procured and more boxes of track and some tools, and, well; a layout concept was born.

I present to you the beginnings of a small collaberative project set in the Pennsylvania town of Palmerton during the 1960's. Set around the downfall of the Lehigh and New England and the beginning of the CNJ takeover of the line. Now, I am primarily a PRR modeller, so why the LNE? Thank John Pechulis and Mike Bednar and their video series for that.IT also gives me an excuse to buy more from the collection I'm supposed to be selling, but that's only slightly relevant (it did make picking prototypes easy, though). So onto the layout itself.

The original layout, which appeared in the January 2001 edition of Model Railroader, of which I only have a printout but no digital copy (sorry about that). A little, unattributed 4' x 8' layout on the first page of the article, it didn't leave much of an impact save for it had an abundance of crossovers, which we joked must be my favorite because of all the room for error when running through them. Ultimately, the decision to try and emulate this plan was born just from the fact that all of the sectional track I was given seemed to "fit," just obviously in a smaller scale. After futzing around with sectional track, trying to get a "feel" for what I was trying to do, we ultimately condensed it into the space available (2' x 4'). This of course required a lot of geometry changes; realignment of curves, straightening or curving of sidings, or even just removing/adding pieces we didn't like. Ultimately, the track plan became this:



Yes, it's very "model-railroady" with a lot of compromises and superfluous assets, but this was never intended to be a tie-for-tie recreation of the LNE (it wasn't supposed to be anything, originally). Obviously a roundy-round (I like to watch them run), it does have some switching opportunities between three planned industries (two "real," one "imaginary") and an interchange (the line running through the oval). The backdrop was retained but straightened. The interchange originally had one switch at the crossover in the bottom left corner, but a siding was added for the interchange, and a double slip replaced one of the crossovers in the oval; same geometry and more versatility for the sacrifice of a little bit of prototypical accuracy. I don't think the LNE had any double-slips, but hey; I'm having fun.The CNJ and LNE interchange at Palmerton definitely did not look like this, anyway. The interchange again crosses the LNE through a Kato 90 degree crossing because we didn't have anything else that would work without introducing more curves and ruining the "flow." The track is a combination of Atlas, Trix, and Kato track, all kindly donated to me by DKS. The radius on the "main" is as small as we had; 7_3/4 inch. Their are broader curves (15", I think?) on some interior curves like the interchange, but those were more for aesthetic purposes. There won't be anything bigger than RSD-4's on this layout, so it should be okay (my big PRR equipment will have to find somewhere else to run). Like the track, the scenery and industries will likely be pieced together from the DKS collection once I can actually afford to do so.

The three sidings on the left-hand side of the layout will be for a future cement plant (an industry the LNE was known for). This was inspired by the below picture, which is not mine (from the John Peculis series on the railroad).



The industry at the upper-right was removed in favor of running another line off of the end of the layout for an implied coal branch, which was the LNE's other main source of income. It was double-tracked for storage, passing siding, whatever; I just liked it.

The last industry is along the backdrop, with the siding changed to run parallel to it to increase the length (condensing the layout meant it was curve it or lose it. This will be recycling, because scrap loads are fun and easy to model; I can be messy with a purpose for once.This isn't really based on anything (even though American Zinc is in the area), I just wanted to have it as an easy industry I already have materials for.

That is probably all I have to say about the layout thus far; what you see is where it sits right now, aside from the addition of a feeder track to allow me to power it easily, as we hope to have it running for Altoona N scale weekend. Only things planned to change between now and then are the addition of roadbed and to actually affix the track once we know everything works "okay." After Altoona, I will work on getting rid of the ugly switch machines and the feeder in favor of more elegant solutions (even though it's not going to be a work of art like most of DKS' work, it will be an opportunity for me to hone my skills and get my feet wet in actual modelling).

A big thank you to @DKS for allowing me the use of his tools and expertise (which I will be needing a lot more of), as well as all of the donated materials. I also want to thank @VonRyan for constantly pushing me to do some actual work and for taking the photos. Unfortunately, he missed my ankles in all of the photographs. For now, though, I will bide my time with further planning until I finally decide to switch to HO. Thank you for reading, and as nothing is glued down, yet, hit me with that criticism (I'm really asking for it now).


« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:39:06 AM by ChristianJDavis1 »
- Christian J. Davis

ChristianJDavis1

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 03:38:33 AM »
+3



And one of my ugly mug holding the "inspiration" for the layout. Hopefully that is the last time you will have to see my face during this thread, but Cody felt the need to take a picture of me so I wanted to use it. There you go, Cody; I did a thing!
- Christian J. Davis

davefoxx

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 09:42:19 AM »
0
You know me- I like a good roundy-round.  Acknowledging it for what it is: "very 'model-railroady' with a lot of compromises and superfluous assets, but . . . never intended to be a tie-for-tie recreation of the LNE," I say have at it and have fun.  Sometimes it's more fun to JFRTs than worry about the rivet counting.  The dream layout can come later, and this beats the hell out of armchair model railroading.  Not to mention, if you are considering changing scales someday, you probably don't want to put a lot of money and effort into this one anyway.

Enjoy!
DFF

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DKS

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 09:48:38 AM »
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Not to mention, if you are considering changing scales someday...

I believe he was being facetious...

At any rate, it was a genuine thrill for me to "host" the "birth" of a layout. Increasing the enjoyment of the hobby for someone else is always very rewarding for me.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

DKS

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 01:01:31 PM »
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Here, by the way, is what started it all--an unattributed, seemingly miscellaneous, and rather strange track plan on page 100 of the January 2001 edition of Model Railroader. Note how the track runs right up to the very edges of the layout. And this was supposedly a "beginner's" track plan...

"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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davefoxx

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 01:27:37 PM »
0
I believe he was being facetious...

Was he?  Because, . . .

"We are the HOers.  Resistance is futile.  Your life, as it has been, is over.  From this time forward, you will service us.  We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own."

Sincerely,
The HO Collective

:D :D :D

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davefoxx

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 01:31:35 PM »
0


It's a shame that you can't get a curved turnout at 9:00 in the plan.  The passing siding could be extended, and you could save a turnout by removing the crossover to the left of the crossing.

I bet the conductor has fun ducking into the passing siding to avoid another train only to find himself in the way of something coming through that cross track.  :o  Seriously, there could be some fun with this little layout, strange or not.

DFF

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DKS

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 01:47:15 PM »
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It's a shame that you can't get a curved turnout at 9:00 in the plan.

Actually, we could. But we're not going to...
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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ChristianJDavis1

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2019, 05:21:46 PM »
+1
Was he?  Because, . . .

"We are the HOers.  Resistance is futile.  Your life, as it has been, is over.  From this time forward, you will service us.  We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own."

Sincerely,
The HO Collective

:D :D :D

Funnily enough, HO was the first scale I started out in. My parents got me a Bachmann 2-8-0 starter set to begin with. I then accumulated random pieces here and there until a great purge when I became “serious” about wanting to do N scale, butthe original set still remains. I still have HO, but not what you would expect. I have a small collection of Japanese HO (1:80) equipment that I’ve accumulated for fun and running at the local 4-H club (for those rare HO only shows). Switching scale seriously is not in the plans; too much fun N scale brass I own and have yet to own to switch just yet.
- Christian J. Davis

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2019, 11:08:54 PM »
+1
Palmerton?

That's where Rosy Palms and her five sisters live, right?

Kidding aside, excellent choice of prototype. You gonna model the denuded trees down wind of the NJ Zinc plant? It's a signature Palmerton scene!

ChristianJDavis1

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2019, 05:19:44 AM »
0
Palmerton?

That's where Rosy Palms and her five sisters live, right?

Kidding aside, excellent choice of prototype. You gonna model the denuded trees down wind of the NJ Zinc plant? It's a signature Palmerton scene!

Ms. Palms is  fine,  and due to it being a superfund site, probably has a sixth daughter to look forward to!

While I don't plan on doing the Zinc plant itself, I do plan on having a small scrap dealer, so maybe some less-than-healthy foliage would be a nice addition to that little section.

- Christian J. Davis

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2019, 08:41:46 AM »
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You gonna model the denuded trees down wind of the NJ Zinc plant? It's a signature Palmerton scene!


He can make quite a few of them every night...
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eric220

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2019, 05:47:12 PM »
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I like it! One thought, which may or may not fit with your plans. If you move the double slip one track over to the siding, you could work the interchange without fouling the main.
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ChristianJDavis1

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2019, 07:03:24 PM »
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I like it! One thought, which may or may not fit with your plans. If you move the double slip one track over to the siding, you could work the interchange without fouling the main.

That's actually a good idea; will have to remember to move it come Thursday. Thankfully we didn't have any cork so nothing is affixed, yet. Should I ever finish it, future operators (so, me) might thank you for making their lives easier.


He can make quite a few of them every night...

Or every Thursday. Probably won't get much scenery done before Altoona, but it wouldn't hurt to start getting some trees made. Make them before I make an excuse not to make them. Just have to start planning where I actually want the trees. Would love to recreate the photo I posted if even just get the "feel" of the cement silos poking out above the trees. Trees will also be essential for hiding the edges of the divider, so there is definitely uses for them.
- Christian J. Davis

randgust

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Re: Palmerton, PA: An N Scale Collaborative Micro-Layout
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2019, 09:26:01 AM »
0
Funny you should mention the 'denuded' scene.    I did a professional rail project over there years ago and cabrode the Chestnut Ridge shortline down to what was then the Conrail interchange.  Would have been about 1994 or 1995.   I remember it was a rather tired Alco switcher.   The track up the valley (now removed) was still mostly in place.

This may be the unit although I won't swear to it:  http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3779528

Nothing against the L&HR, but "Chestnut Ridge" is a rather neat name for a shortline and micro-layout; you can add all the connections that were there then; CNJ, L&HR, probably more.

Moonscape is being polite.   I always thought it was rather ironic that the most denuded area I've ever seen in PA was named for the trees.

The L&HR right-of-way was still very evident on the hillside.

Before you're totally locked in with your vertical alignment, the other lasting impression was the grade-separated embankment through the town to the interchange over that "S" curve.   Multiple overpass bridges including one over a downtown intersection, which was kind of unique.  Rather lends itself to the curves you've got.

« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 09:55:39 AM by randgust »