Author Topic: Montana Rail Link 2nd and 3rd Subs - "The Divide"  (Read 4138 times)

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trainzluvr

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past?
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2021, 08:55:35 PM »
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With regards to building a layout I have to build the tables to be able to see what “real estate” I am working with. I am a numbers guy by trade and every effort I have ever made to plan out a layout on paper or computer has failed in its transition to a working layout. I think the biggest thing is just start building and if you don’t like it, than fix it. I just realigned a portion of my dual mainline because I did not how my trains traversed a curve. Don’t worry about the mistakes just fix them.

I have to agree being very analytical myself, I started with designing on the computer, and that was in hindsight not the best approach to a solution. Despite the ease of revising things and being able to see the "big picture" e.g. a full layout, the computer design just does not offer that realistic sense that you get when you stand next to the benchwork in person, line up a train and put a few mockup structures.

I distinctly remember watching one of Art Houston's (of Grande Pacific fame) videos on layout planning where he said (paraphrasing): "Get yourself some butcher paper, lay it down on the benchwork and draw track on it. Look at it for a week or two and change if it doesn't feel right." To me that was true wisdom, coming from someone who has been in the hobby for 50+ years, which you could take to the bank.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2021, 08:58:54 PM by trainzluvr »

nkalanaga

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2021, 10:58:11 PM »
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The smelter closed in 2001, so would fit your "1987 to 2000" perfectly.  It was torn down starting in 2009.  (One of the Montana TV stations had a story today on preserving some fancy windows from one of the buildings, and gave the dates!)

As for Montana City, unless there's something there I can't find (entirely possible!), it probably wouldn't be missed.  There might have been more activity 30 years ago, but it doesn't look very busy today.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2021, 11:06:37 PM by nkalanaga »
N Kalanaga
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trainzluvr

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2021, 11:15:46 PM »
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I've further worked on the LDEs along the mainline and it appears to be finally taking shape. Geographically, locations appear to be falling into place aside from having to swap the Mullan tunnel and Skyline Trestle. I also like how Lombard Canyon would end up on the blob of a pensisula.



A (still) contentious area to me is Drummond. I thought there was something there railserved. I originally picked it because it was half way between Missoula and Helena, has a wye leading into the 8th Sub, but otherwise it now seems not remarkable at all for any operational interest.

Now looking at replacing Drummond with Bonner (Milltown) where there is/was a large lumber mill?

wazzou

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2021, 11:53:09 PM »
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As I mentioned, I’d just ditch it and put some mainline between locations.
Bryan

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trainzluvr

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #34 on: December 25, 2021, 12:03:03 AM »
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As I mentioned, I’d just ditch it and put some mainline between locations.

The thing is, operationally the layout has two major regions split by a Continental Divide (in the upper right corner where my lift-out is for the electrical cabinet).

Missoula and Helena are the two large yards and they service industries on their sides of the Divide, through their own locals. If I take out Drummond, Missoula does not have any locals at all, aside from whatever is happening within the city itself or near-by DeSmet. They would also send transfer trains between each other, adding another job to the table.

I thought about removing Missoula altogether.

On the other hand, I could remove Helena yard instead, and only have industries in and along the line from Helena served by a local (or two) from Missoula. Then, could probably have a separate local (turn) going to the 5th Sub (Logan to Three Forks/Pipestone) originating in Missoula, although I've actually seen photos of BNSF also going to Pipestone for ballast rock.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2021, 12:07:57 AM by trainzluvr »

nkalanaga

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #35 on: December 25, 2021, 01:59:28 AM »
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Milltown would be served by Missoula, and, as you mentioned, it had a large lumber mill.  As far as I can tell from Google Maps, the railroad doesn't serve anything at Drummond now, and I don't remember seeing anything in our trips through there from the mid 80s to 2011.  The Interstate goes around town, so I might have missed something, but there wasn't much.

Go back to 1967 and it's a different story.  Then the NP alone served both Continental Oil and Standard Oil "bulk oil and gas" (dealers? distributors?), Flint Creek Lumber Co mill, and Sorenson Brothers sawmill (at the team track, no spur).

Go a little further west of DeSmet, there used to be (well into the MRL era) a very large paper mill. easily visible from the Interstate.  It used to generate a lot of traffic for the railroads, but is now nothing but an environmental cleanup site.  It would easily generate a local a day from Missoula.
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trainzluvr

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #36 on: December 25, 2021, 12:26:29 PM »
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That paper mill was humongous, it could be a mini layout onto itself.



Maybe if I break through the wall below DeSmet into the closet there I could put the mill in as a branchline, although I'm not sure my spouse would appreciate that...

Actually, I probably wouldn't need much to represent it, maybe a nice photo backdrop, a flat and one or two spurs. Benchwork in that area is pretty narrow as-is. The distance would be quite compressed though between Lafarge Cement transloading and the mill, but hey...it's model railroading.

nkalanaga

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #37 on: December 25, 2021, 01:17:06 PM »
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Having cement transloading and a paper mill next to each other wouldn't be a problem, prototypically, although not correct for your location.  And putting the paper mill on the backdrop should work fine. 
N Kalanaga
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trainzluvr

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #38 on: December 25, 2021, 01:38:01 PM »
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I'm thinking to post-date the Bonner-Milltown area and put an industrial park there as-is today, making some of those industries railserved.



This way I do not both produce and consume lumber online (the layout isn't that big), but instead it would get shipped from off-line (Pyramid Mountain?) to consumers here.

John

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #39 on: December 25, 2021, 06:24:05 PM »
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Your aisles are too narrow IMHO -- especially around the balloons .. min 30" will get you a comfortable aisle that a couple of people can pass each other

trainzluvr

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Re: How do you research a prototype from the past? (Now MRL related)
« Reply #40 on: December 25, 2021, 06:32:49 PM »
+1
Your aisles are too narrow IMHO -- especially around the balloons .. min 30" will get you a comfortable aisle that a couple of people can pass each other

Those are "givens" at this point - can't change them this far into the game...


nkalanaga

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Re: Montana Rail Link 2nd and 3rd Subs - "The Divide"
« Reply #41 on: December 26, 2021, 12:28:06 AM »
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"This way I do not both produce and consume lumber online"

Very few mills produce all types of lumber, so that wouldn't be a problem.  Your on-line mill ships one type off-line, your on-line consumer buys a different type from off-line.  For instance, if your mill makes construction lumber, it probably doesn't make finished lumber, such as would be used for cabinetry or interior decoration, and almost certainly wouldn't make plywood. 

At least in the early years of MRL, a lot of rough lumber was still shipped unwrapped, finished lumber was usually wrapped, and at least some plywood still moved in boxcars.
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trainzluvr

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Re: Montana Rail Link 2nd and 3rd Subs - "The Divide"
« Reply #42 on: December 26, 2021, 12:38:19 AM »
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The other concern in that area (Bonner-Milltown) is the benchwork depth of only ~8" - could I really fit a lumber mill into that kind of space?

With an Industrial Park, I could go with flats or some sideways cut-outs, and have a few spurs into each building and next to it.

nkalanaga

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Re: Montana Rail Link 2nd and 3rd Subs - "The Divide"
« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2021, 02:24:49 AM »
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It would be difficult, if you wanted the mill.  If all you wanted was the loading area, it could be done.  The mills were on the north side of the tracks, which, the way you've drawn it, would be in the aisle, so it would work.

But I would probably leave the whole thing out, except maybe the railroad bridge.  It was a BIG mill, and the tracks went up the Blackfoot valley, not alongside the mainline, not easy to compress.

Here's a link to Google's map of the the site sometime this year.  Notice that one of the Interstate bridges has no deck!  The scenery has also changed, since they removed Milltown Dam several years ago.
https://www.google.com/maps/@46.8714857,-113.87638,1184m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

Today, it basically IS an industrial park, so that wouldn't be too far off, if you aren't particular about dates.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2021, 02:27:12 AM by nkalanaga »
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Missaberoad

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Re: Montana Rail Link 2nd and 3rd Subs - "The Divide"
« Reply #44 on: December 26, 2021, 11:57:07 AM »
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Interesting switchback into an industry... Good example of Ed's Law...
Ryan in Alberta