Author Topic: Denver, South Park & Pacific Keystone Branch  (Read 2244 times)

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eric220

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Denver, South Park & Pacific Keystone Branch
« on: December 15, 2020, 02:57:05 PM »
+4
I have developed a new addiction.  I had planned for a long time to build a garden railroad, but with the purchase of this:



a few months ago, things got real.  I went out to the back yard and took careful measurements of my available space, which looks like this:



And I came up with this:



Careful measurements my :ashat:...  :facepalm:

I was a little disappointed with the wobbly, bumpy perimeter that is supposed to be a smoothly flowing footpath.  After burning several hours taking measurements, I was burned out and had no energy to try again.  While I was discussing the situation with the Bureau of Land Management (my lovely bride), we agreed that the whole area is really due for re-landscaping. It's something we've talked about on and off since we moved into this house.  Designing a railroad that could be worked into the plan seemed to be the best option.  Unfortunately, that skyrocketed the scope and cost of the project, so onto the back burner it went.

Fast forward to last week.  On a whim, I looked up AristoCraft C-16's (to turn into DSP&P #51, better known as DL&G 191) on that auction site, and I found a REALLY good deal.  I snapped it up, put an LGB congdon stack on it, and put it under the Christmas tree.  It's been dutifully hauling the Christmas Tree Train ever since.  Now my motivation and energy for the garden railroad is up again!  This is not going to happen next week, or next month, but with any luck it will get under way some time next year.  I need to have a plan in place when we start discussing landscaping (I'm hoping that the landscapers can build the sub-roadbed as part of the deal) so it is time to come up with a plan.  I decided that the "measured" drawing I made is good enough, so I started playing around.

Here's what's in the drawing (the grid is 12" squares with 24" squares emphasized):



The green objects are plants, which are to one degree or another considered removable.
The larger gray objects are rocks, which are definitely removable or repositionable.
The border is a fence line on the left and top, and a concrete pathway around the inside.  The pathway is no-go space for planning purposes.

You will also notice a deck and a reference to an "available entrance to the garage."  The Bureau of Land Management has released additional real estate for the railroad!  The track will now run down the edge of the deck, around the end, down the fence line, and bridge over a pathway to punch through a wall of the garage, where the staging tracks will be built.  This was always in the back of my head as a possible expansion at some point, but it's become an integral part of the plan now.  I want to be able to fire this thing up and run it with minimal setup and teardown.

On to design criteria:

1. The prototype is the Denver, South Park, and Pacific railroad in 1884.
    - The high line to Leadville is complete, and the Keystone Branch is newly open.
    - The Cooke moguls (LGB) and Baldwin consolidations (AristoCraft) are brand new on property.
    - Although Jay Gould and the Union Pacific have been in control of the railroad for four years, the massive renumbering and reorganization (and maintenance shutdown) of 1885 hasn't happened yet.
2. 5' radius curves where possible, 4' minimum (that's the minimum radius of the Mason Bogie)
3. 2' section minimum to break up and S curves.
4. There should be a path through the layout that minimizes taking diverging routes on turnouts, and where necessary, those turnouts should be gentle (no LGB R1's).
5. I like Llagas Creek's aluminum track, so to start off with planning will assume its use.  #4, #6, #10 turnouts available, as are #4 and #6 wye's.
6. The general design will roundy-round with minimal or no switching, with a branch off to staging.
    - The link and pin couplers make switching monstrously annoying, but not impossible.
    - The layout will be front and center of our outdoor entertaining area, so I want to be able to fire up a train and just let it run.
7. Locomotives will be battery powered.
8. Entire trains must be able to be turned at all ends.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 02:32:08 AM by eric220 »
-Eric

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Dave V

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2020, 03:03:06 PM »
+1
Awwwwwwwwwwwww sh!t, yo, I've been waiting for this thread since you bought that Bogie!  Instant favorite!   :ashat:

Can't wait, man.  I'm jealous...  I miss my backyard RGS, but your climate will be a LOT friendlier toward your right-of-way than the Colorado Front Range was to mine.

To be clear, when you say 5' radius, you do mean radius, right?  For some reason in G scale people use diameter for curvature a lot.  Like on my RGS I had 8' diameter, so 4' radius.

eric220

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2020, 03:13:27 PM »
0
I did some playing around and came up with this as a first draft:



The cut trough the bush on the left is an available path that could be built now.  That got me thinking that a little scouting to clarify what is and is not an available path on my "measured" drawing might be in order.  That yielded this:



Given that that's my working layer at the moment, it also shows the dimensions of various curves and turnouts.  You may notice the red curve in the wye.  That has a radius of 2.5', which violates my minimum.  That's OK, as the Aristo and LGB locomotives can take that no problem.  It just means that the Mason Bogie won't be able to take that turn.  Given that running the Bogie will be an event, I don't mind having to run it back and forth from staging.

My original plan, hatched many years ago, had been to replicate the tracks at Keystone.  Something like this (the dashed lines are my additions onto the prototype track arrangement):



I still like it, and it vaguely inspired the wye area on the track plans above, but it doesn't make sense in the current plan.  This was the end of the branch.  The tracks never went any further.  I'm OK with the fake turnaround, but I can't call this the Keystone branch as I'd originally intended with the wye in the middle of the mainline.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2020, 03:16:41 PM by eric220 »
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eric220

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2020, 03:14:10 PM »
0
Awwwwwwwwwwwww sh!t, yo, I've been waiting for this thread since you bought that Bogie!  Instant favorite!   :ashat:

Can't wait, man.  I'm jealous...  I miss my backyard RGS, but your climate will be a LOT friendlier toward your right-of-way than the Colorado Front Range was to mine.

To be clear, when you say 5' radius, you do mean radius, right?  For some reason in G scale people use diameter for curvature a lot.  Like on my RGS I had 8' diameter, so 4' radius.

Yes, 5' radius, 10' diameter.  4' radius, 8' diameter minimum.

I also realized I forgot to talk about operations.  The thought is to have three trains staged.  It was going to be two, a passenger and a freight, until I counted up the freight cars that I have, did a few measurements, and realized that I've already got enough for two freight trains.   :facepalm:  Oh well, guess I need one more locomotive!  (The Mason Bogie is NOT going to live in the garage.)  On a side note, if I buy two LGB moguls, my G and Nn3 fleets will be exactly the same!  I already planned to do C&S 31 (DSP&P 51) in Nn3, so maybe my LGB moguls will need to be renumbered DSP&P 40 and 69, which later became C&S 5 and 6 to match my Nn3 models.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2020, 03:22:56 PM by eric220 »
-Eric

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wazzou

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2020, 03:21:33 PM »
0
I like the second one better because it keeps the trains more near the front edge, assuming that is adjacent to the path.
Easier for maintenance of both trains and plants.
It'd be a shame to build all that and only see trains 20% of the time.
Bryan

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eric220

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2020, 03:27:38 PM »
0
I like the second one better because it keeps the trains more near the front edge, assuming that is adjacent to the path.
Easier for maintenance of both trains and plants.
It'd be a shame to build all that and only see trains 20% of the time.

That was one of the points of doing that exercise.  I'm still a bit torn on that.  The trains really aren't hidden all that much under the first plan; mostly just when they go behind those big, boxy bushes.  They would actually be quite visible in that back corner turning behind the redwood tree.  The thing I like about that is it forces a more from-the-side perspective, instead of the top-down that you would get sitting on the benches as the train runs right under you.  I played around a little with going behind the bush on the left, but then in front of the bush on the right.  I have an idea... Stand by.
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Chris333

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2020, 03:30:51 PM »
+2
You need some sort of big trestle.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2020, 03:31:33 PM »
+2
I'm salty that G scale turnouts are less than O scale ones.

But other than that... F YEAH!!

eric220

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2020, 03:51:19 PM »
0
You need some sort of big trestle.

Ummm, duh! :D I originally thought I was going to need a huge, Devil's Gate High Bridge affair to make the turn at the upper right.  I've only got about one foot of flat space behind the deck, another foot of gentle slope (the light gray area), and then a STEEP drop off.  Turns out I don't need that, but I will need something somewhere.  If nothing else, I'm thinking a nice through-truss for the lift bridge that will cross the pathway to the portal into the garage.  That will be about a foot off the ground.

Here's the thought I had for the upper left:



Yeah, I know, it's very model-railroady.  I actually think it evokes something of the twisty-windy trackage that was the DSP&P high line.  The actual Keystone branch had a 3% ruling grade, which I will NOT be replicating.
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Dave V

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2020, 04:44:54 PM »
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@Chris333 ,

The DSP&P had a few trestles but none of them as massive or as iconic as the ones we associate with the Rio Grande Southern.

Chris333

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2020, 04:52:45 PM »
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I'm just sayin'   :D

Also about the whole outdoor railroad. What is the height the track would be off the ground?  I mean you wouldn't want to be looking down at the trains. So either lift the trains up or create a sunken walkway about 3' wide along the "layout".

Just ideas I know moving real ground is harder than carving foam.

railnerd

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2020, 05:20:31 PM »
+1
Highly RC/recommend battery powered operation.  A friend made the switch and hasn't looked back.

-Dave

eric220

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2020, 05:49:10 PM »
0
I'm just sayin'   :D

Also about the whole outdoor railroad. What is the height the track would be off the ground?  I mean you wouldn't want to be looking down at the trains. So either lift the trains up or create a sunken walkway about 3' wide along the "layout".

Just ideas I know moving real ground is harder than carving foam.

There's enough undulation around that I should be able to find a spot or two for bridges.  They'll likely be metal, and probably more consistent with stream crossings than something like what @Dave V did for Windy Point.

Neither raising the trains up of the ground nor digging down is an option.  Bureau of Land Management would not go for that.  I've got access to more right of way than I could have hoped, so I'm not going to push my luck.

Highly RC/recommend battery powered operation.  A friend made the switch and hasn't looked back.

-Dave

My dad does battery operation too.  He uses swappable battery packs, and that works very well for him.  His layout is pretty modest, and a single pack gives plenty of loops and toot-toots to entertain the grandkids.  I don't know what the state of battery/charging technology is, but I'd really like to set it up so that the batteries charge through the rails.  I'm not talking about charging while rolling; the idea would be to electrify the staging yard as the primary charging location, and maybe a couple of sidings for top-offs.  Like I mentioned before, removing as many barriers and steps as possible between the thought, "I want to run some trains," and having trains moving down the tracks is a priority.

In other news, I'm tossing the loop around the tree.  I don't know why, but I'm having a really hard time with scale.  Everything is just so much smaller when I go out there.  It may be partly that I'm using 4" wide lines to actually show where the tracks will go, as opposed to the thin centerlines that I was using for my N scale work.  I also didn't like the way the loop compromised the aesthetic.  This is obviously not going to be hyper realistic; it's going to be a model railroad running through a garden.  Still, I want to stick to the feel of the DSP&P as much as I can: a single windy mainline ducking around hills and mountains punctuated by wyes, small yards, and spurs.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2020, 06:39:17 PM by eric220 »
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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2020, 06:37:28 PM »
+1
I'd encourage you to partially bury some pressure treated lumber that you can miter for your turns just to give a solid footing for the track and it can be screwed to.
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eric220

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Re: Denver, South Park, & Pacific in the Back Yard
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2020, 09:32:06 PM »
0
I'd encourage you to partially bury some pressure treated lumber that you can miter for your turns just to give a solid footing for the track and it can be screwed to.

There's going to be some form of substantial sub roadbed.  I'm hoping that I can get that done as part of the landscaping.  Then I have a nice solid surface that I can come back and secure track on.
-Eric

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