Author Topic: Pacific Railway & Navigation  (Read 566 times)

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MDW

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Pacific Railway & Navigation
« on: June 24, 2020, 09:58:10 AM »
+1
I'm a year into building my new layout and a bit late starting this thread, but here it goes........

Last June, I tore out my halfway built, industrial shelf layout (the discovery that modeling large industrial structures is my least favorite part of the hobby was way too late.....)  and started building the layout that I had been thinking about for years.  The steam era PRN is an N scale, 9'x25' multi-level, multi-helix representation of the SP's Tillamook Branch in Oregon.  I'm modeling the line from the end of the line at Tillamook eastward over the Coast Range summit and back down to the helper terminal of Timber and into a hidden staging yard.

Here are some thoughts & goals for the new layout:

1. The PRN will run only 2 - sometimes 3 - trains an operating session and the focus is on steam era helper operations.  To make sure this was feasible and before I began demolition of the old layout, I mocked up a section of 3% grade and successfully tested moving a 24 car train up the grade with 4 Bachman consolidations.  I am a big believer in the importance of mock ups and proof of concept testing.

2. I wanted to recycle as much of the old layout as possible.  I was able to re-purpose all of the 9" tall benchwork modular boxes as raised floor, have recycled the old valence structure for use as new benchwork and roadbed, and am currently installing recycled LED lighting for the lower deck.  My CVP DCC system and frog juicers are also now seeing duty on their second layout.

3. Building efficiently is a priority.  Wherever possible, I'm trying to limit waste, weight, layers, fasteners, circuits, etc. to build both lightweight and quickly - things like using readily available 1/2" plywood, no gluing/only screwing, plywood-less helixes, using the plywood sheathing from which my bench work is cantilevered as the upper level backdrop itself, and switching from micro-engineering track and switch machines to manually thrown peco code 55 track and turnouts have all allowed me to make a lot of progress in year one.

Plan sketches and pictures to follow soon, I hope - depending on how quickly I can master posting images.....
I"m having a hell of a lot of fun planning and building this layout and am looking forward to your feedback.

Michel

MDW

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2020, 10:20:27 AM »
+4
My layout ignores many of the common layout design "Don'ts" and I'm perfectly OK living with a tall 66" duck under, multiple floor levels and 3 helices to model both sides of a steep mountain crossing and the operations required to move trains over the line.  Here are some sketches and pictures to help explain what I’m doing.

Lower Deck


The Lower Deck is set at a consistent 42" above 3 separate floor heights and represents both sides of the Coast Range.  One quarter of this deck is set at +62" and represents the eastern end of the line at Timber - the base of helper operations.  Westbound trains come out of staging, pick up helpers, and head into the upper of 2 stacked helices that take the climb to the Upper Deck.

The remainder of the Lower Deck represents the western end of the line from the Pacific coast terminus of Tillamook inland to Enright. This part of the lower deck is on 2 levels - +42" and +51", connected by a 4.5 turn helix, and is where most of the local switching will take place at mills in Tillamook, Garibaldi and Wheeler. Eastbound trains pick up helpers at Enright and enter the lower of the stacked helices to begin the eastbound climb to the Upper Deck.

Upper Deck


The stacked helices in the corner of the layout bring both the east and west bound climbs up to this Upper Level.  The westbound climb from Timber comes out of the upper portion of the helix at +74"  and climbs counter clockwise towards the summit at Cochoran, while the eastbound climb comes out of the lower part of the stacked helix at +60" and works clockwise back towards the summit.  The raised floors keep the switching areas at a reasonable height and allow the rest of the deck to be closer to eye level.  The Upper Deck models the canyon, tunnels, and bridges that characterized the line's climb up and over Oregon's Coast Range.

View from entry towards peninsula


View back towards duck under entry


Helix


First track laid at Tillamook


Progress has been brisk and working from home has allowed me a bit more layout time over the past couple of months.  Most of the benchwork is built, lower level roadbed is complete from Tillamook to Enright and track laid, wired and operational through the helix from Tillamook to Wheeler.  The Lower Level backdrop is mostly installed along with some LED lighting, while the upper deck backdrop has had its base sky color painted. 

Next up are finishing the lower level track work through Enright and the stacked helices...........

Michel

Philip H

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 11:05:47 AM »
0
running fixed radius Unitrack in the Helix.  Minorly Brilliant.
Philip H.
Chief Everything Officer
Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

"There's more to MRR life than the Wheezy & Nowheresville." C855B

MDW

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 11:16:27 AM »
+3
Minorly!
The unitrack helix allows for almost all the work to be done on the workbench, goes up fast, & doesn’t involve acres of plywood.   After several months of testing, it’s been quite reliable.

Michel

johnb

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 01:10:49 PM »
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I think that it is a good idea. Looks good, and the 5'6" duck under works

CRL

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 01:33:25 PM »
+1
Having operators run trains with their backs facing 2-9” steps is asking for trouble that could result in serious injury. You should have the steps on each end up to the 18” platform with a guardrail behind the operators.

Right now, it’s an accident waiting on a single misstep.

wm3798

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 01:42:38 PM »
0
I agree with CRL.  Great track plan, but you need to work on your access and creature comforts.  Building code mandates 7-3/4" maximum rise for steps for a reason.  While you don't have to conform to any code in this case, 9" is extremely steep.  Lowering your platform to 16" wouldn't affect access appreciably, but it will make your operators a lot more comfortable.  And I would definitely add a handrail at the back of that platform, too, and a sturdy one.

There's a whole lot of experience behind those "Layout Design Don'ts".  You should rethink some of them before the horse gets too far out of the barn.

Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

CRL

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 02:12:45 PM »
0
You don’t have to comply with the building code, but if you don’t, it would give the PI lawyer handling the lawsuit more ammunition to increase the judgement.

Even worse, you could be the one with the life changing injury. Take the safer course.

MDW

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 06:30:45 PM »
0
Thanks for the comments.

I’ll be operating the layout alone for the most part so not worried about the steps.  They were the first part of the build and I’ve been running all over them for the past year with no big spills.   Need to exercise a bit more caution for sure, but like a duck under, once you’ve banged your head a couple of times, you learn to take that extra step of care.

Maybe I’ll need to have a liability waiver ready for guests!

Michel


Angus Shops

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2020, 09:03:49 PM »
0
The overall concept is really interesting and well thought out. I love the drawing style you used for the plans; it provides a great sense of the scenic possibilities and really expresses the overall concept clearly. Double headed (or more?) steam on the multiple river crossings in the Belding scene will be an N scale dream.  One question: if Tillamook is on the coast and would therefore logically be the lowest point on the route, why did you decide to set the Tillamook/Garibaldi scene 9” higher than the Enright/Wheeler scene?

Great North West places names too. Please keep posting: this will be a great layout.
Geoff

MDW

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2020, 09:30:37 PM »
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Nice catch, Geoff!

I liked how all the pieces were fitting together but that meant Tillamook would sit below the summit.  I needed that +9” floor to operate the upper deck above, so introduced the helix to pull that portion of the lower deck up to keep it at 42” above the step.   I get the minimum operating height, enough clearance to accommodate a large trestle above and minimized the amount of helix turns......

It’s not ideal, and that helix is the only part of the layout where the modeled grade doesn’t match the prototype.   It means doubling the train and adds 8~10 minutes to the westbound run.   Not perfect, but the idea is that this is a slow moving branch line so this adds to the slow!

The drawing style is my own, developed over years of work and I’m definitely old enough that the brain-to-pencil connection is much stronger than brain-to-mouse.

Thanks,
Michel

MDW

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2020, 09:35:08 PM »
0
I think that it is a good idea. Looks good, and the 5'6" duck under works

Thanks Johnb,
The duck under is as high as it can be and does work..... most of the time.   I have a couple of scars to remind me of when it didn’t.

Michel

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2020, 10:47:53 PM »
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Michel, some great ideas here! As much as I hate helices, I understand the (sometimes) necessary evil. And I’ll trade in big ugly industrial buildings for some cool Pacific Northwest scenery any time! Nice concept...I think I’ll go get some cheese with my wine :D
I’ll follow this with interest. Good luck!
Otto

MDW

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2020, 12:07:56 AM »
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Thanks Otto.
Yeah...... the helixes.   I actually built that one helix first to test both its reliability and my patience.   They are not ideal, but buy me the length & type of run I want.   

I’m leaving the peninsula helix open for ease of maintenance & to at least limit the stress of not seeing the train.   The other 2 helixes are open from the back side but hidden from the layout room itself - may set up a cooler & bar stool out there help pass the time “inspecting” trains running up & down those grades!

Love your layout & modeling by the way.

Michel

sirenwerks

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Re: Pacific Railway & Navigation
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2020, 03:09:54 AM »
0
I like the helix design. OOC, is the actual layout located in Oregon too?  I live in Hillsboro, on 26, on the way to Tillamook.  I travel to Tillamook often for work and have thought about modeling Tillamook and Garibaldi, they offer some very fun and interesting scenery modeling.
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.