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jtrain
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As some of the regular contributors to free rails already know, I've been trying (and somewhat struggling) to find way to build a small and versatile G scale railroad. I'll e the first to admit that many of my 'starts' have died quickly, but not anymore.

I've had 3 months of planning what my next step is going to be and I finally found the answer I was looking for. I realized it is not so much in the design as it is in the character that makes a railroad great and so my focus has shifted from planning the deisgn to planning the elements included in the railroad.

I am currently consolidating all my thoughts into a new blog I launched last night. http://www.bardcreekrr.blogspot.com is the official blog for my new project. The first several posts will be for planning the railroad as well as interpreting prototype information. Then I plan to begin construction of various small projects: Trees, smaller buildings, figures, weathering rolling stock and locomotives, exc...
Please note, I have changed the name and address of the blog, so all old links do not work.

EDIT: 4/9/2014 I have decided to change the name and address of the blog to the following:
http://www.clearcreekrr.blogspot.com To represent the Colorado and Southern More, the name has been changed to the Clear Creek Railroad, which is the creek that the C&S followed up to Georgetown.

So far here is the story for this railroad:

"Just like other railroads near the Clear Creek mining district, the Bard Creek is a small railroad only a few miles in length which services the mines which the larger Colorado Central decided to pass by in favor of the much larger mines in Silver Plume and Georgetown. The railroad began construction in 1864 (150 years ago as of 2014)near the small mining settlement of Empire. The Bard Creek runs west from Empire into three narrow valleys that have several small mining operations. To the East and south of Empire, the Bard Creek interchanges with the Colorado Central.

As Time moves on, several boom and busts occur. First Gold, then silver, then other precious metals. The Bard Creek really begins to suffer by 1906 with the arrival of the Argentine Central which cuts across the district in a southwest to northeast direction. from 1925 to 1940, the railroad is struggling to stay afloat until finally going bankrupt in 1943 as the workforce is taken up by World War Two."

I believe this is a perfect reflection of what actually occurred in the Front Range, and I believe this story is an accurate generalization of most railroads in the mountains of Colorado. My overall goal is not to depict one railroad in particular, but rather to give a general story that people can learn from not unlike the way acting and plays are depicted today.

In real life, Bard Creek is a shallow trickle of water in a valley that runs parallel to Clear Creek before dumping into Clear Creek below Empire. According to the US Geological survey, several claims were made in this valley, but I don't believe a rail spur went into this narrow inlet because using hiking trail information, the grade would have to average 5% to climb the valley (1000 ft climb over 4 mile length) but at times the road is forced into 10% grades. This is still possible with shay locomotives, but not for most other types of equipment. I also wanted to include land to the North and South of Empire, where many claims were made. based on old maps, the Argentine Central ran through these valleys, but I found out that the Argentine did not start until 1905 (source wikipedia) so by setting the date further back, that allows for my fictional line to fill a niche in history.

As I progress through smaller projects, I want to accumulate materials to build the first module. On previous railroads, I built as I went; but on this railroad I want to do all the prep work and then build a module over a small period of time. I also plan to build one or tow modules at a time so that the railroad slowly expands. My dream for this project is that it eventually gets large enough that I can take the layout to shows in the summer, but that is too far down the road to really plan.

My next step is to begin to budget both time and money for this project and decide exactly what I want to be included first on the layout. All I've done so far on the blog is explain what I want the railroad to depict, and I've figured out I want to have a mine on the first module.

Anyways, I'll be updating both the blog as well as this forum topic regularly so keep tuned in and keep those trains running.

--James :java:

Oh, and two more things:

1. One of the modules in the future will include that very unique piece of dual gauge track Woodie brought to our attention in a topic a few weeks ago:
http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=5588&forum_id=52

2. I've come up with my logo which is now my profile picture:


Photo is based on an actual photo I took of the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railway. Engine seen is an 0-4-0T engine #3

Last edited on Thu Apr 10th, 2014 02:31 am by jtrain

bill
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Great start on what will be a terrific RR. I share your interests in SW CO mining. I am working on rolling stock to support both mining and logging interests in Fn3. I will watch your blog with interest. Good luck in your college endeavors.

jtrain
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I've now got the basic concept for the decals that I want to use on the locomotives:



The black background mimics the flat black color of the steam locomotives. For any diesel locos I get, which won't be too many since I'm trying to model pre-diesel, I'll use a basic one or two tone color scheme.

Upper left logo will be for small steamers. the set of numbers underneath this logo will be centered underneath the road name.

For locomotives with a tender I'll use the lower left design with the mountain. I think this would look good on a 2-6-0 or similar type. Bachmann's larger 2-4-2 is on my radar and this logo might look good on it as well. Any diesels will display this logo along the side of the motor housing (with the exception of the davenport and GE __ Tonners where the logo will be worn under the cab windows).

For any shay's or climaxes that are bought for this railway, the upper right logo would look great I think on the tender with a large number under the cab sills.

I'll post some rough pictures in a few minutes.

--James:java:

jtrain
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Here is some basic design concepts for the locomotive decals:
Photos from hobby store website and edited on paint.



My own porter, but instead of Colorado Mining Co, has my design for the Bard Creek.



A 2-4-2 is something that's high on my checklist because of the unique design and relative low cost.



Don't know if the railroad will ever get big enough to run these babies, but we can dream.

--James:java:

jtrain
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From what I've seen, Mack locomotives make very good back up or switching type locomotives. One or two of these would never hurt, so here's the decal design for it:



photo courtesy of ebay.

--James

:java:

W C Greene
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James, the big Shay is very cool...I got one for writing a product review in a hobby mag, it had sound & all. I was considering a layout at the time and had about 25 feet of LGB track and 2 LGB "D&RG" coaches. I set the loco and coaches on the 25 feet and was able to run forward and backward...just a few feet. That's when I knew that (1) the loco was way too big for me (2)it would take mucho dinero $$$ to build a proper layout for it (3)I needed money more than a big Shay. Oh well, I'm happy with what I have now.

Woodie

jtrain
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Woodie, you are correct in that the Bachmann shay is a monster of a locomotive. Personally, if I ever get the chance to own one (I've seen them sell new for as little as $400 through micromark.com. Still not cheap, but for a loco that has an MSRP of over $800, micromark makes a pretty good offer) I'd definitely seize the opportunity. As I was contemplating how the layout would be set up, I realized it isn't that big of a trick to get 8' diameter curves, so a shay is possible. However I do agree you in that a shay is an unnecessary luxury, especially on a small set up. I'm happy with my porter as well as my LGB stainz and DRGW 0-4-0 diesel #50, also from LGB. All three run great and I'm counting on them to serve me well for a while.

Of course, the majority of my funds will go towards creating rolling stock and setting up a couple of modules, at least that is this winter's goal. I'm currently looking into heavily modifying Hartland locomotive works flat cars into drop bottom gondolas. I was going to use rolling stock kits, and will probably buy my share of them later on because they are so well detailed, but for now everything must be done on the cheap.

In other words, no shay...

...yet;)

By the way, congratulations on your promotion Woodie!

--James:java:

jtrain
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Just a quick set of updates. As of Now, I have the module design almost finished. After going back and forth a few times between a couple different design concepts, I decided to go with a design where the module acts as a stage for the trains, giving a backdrop and an overhead frame work with built in lighting. This design allows for modules to be stacked easily when in transport plus then I won't need to worry about smashed buildings and the like as well as all the boxes of my previous design. Now everything, if attached appropriately, will be safe fro harm unless I get in an accident or someone puts a post through the module. So check out the blog for some updates.

Thanks!

--James:java:

jtrain
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Time for another update on my progress of the Bard Creek Railroad project. After considering what track to use, as well as what I'm attempting to model, I have recently been floating benchwork ideas around. My first idea was this for the modules:


I liked this look a lot, but I found that the plywood I was planning on using to make the required C shaped braces would be too fragile for the rigors of a show layout. For that matter, simple physics dictates that such a module would need too much lumber to support a 30" overhang such as that, and so the weight would get to be too much.

I did not want to add a frame or bracing to the front of the module because it would break up the layout into a series of scenes. I needed to have support to keep the module stable and strong. The solution was simple, put away the plywood and go with dimensional lumber.

My design is based around framework from 2x2, 1x2 and 1x3 lumber:


The blue represents 2x2 lumber which gives a sturdy vertical support along the backside. The red represents 1x3 pieces that are the main supporting braces for both the scenery base and for the overhead.

The green represents the 1x2 pieces which are secondary support for the 1x3 braces. The 1x2 and 1x3's are combined at right angles to make the familiar L girder bracing popularized by Linn Westcott. However, instead of L girders spanning the full length of the module I instead use the girders as cross braces.

The main difference between this design and the previous design is that instead of a 30" overhang, I plan to have a vertical 1x2 with bracing about halfway down the cross braces on each end. Structurally, this cuts the overhang roughly in half and the brace will give the back framwork some leverage that puts the lumber under tension rather than compression. This design allows for the trains to pass in front obscured, resulting in an uninterrupted view of the layout.



A curved, panoramic backdrop for each module instead sets the scene. One thing I left out of the diagram is that there would be several 1x2 cross braces along the bottom framework which will support the foam scenery base.



The addition of pink or blue foam on top of the cross braces provides a solid and light scenery base. Additional layers can be added to give a varying ground elevation within each module.



Each module can then be completed with very light plywood along the top and possibly the sides and bottom. The 2x2's along the back will do a good job of protecting that side by itself.



The addition of track, scenery and structures plus a lighting system in the valance completes the module. The design protects everything that is within the module while also making the layout look more professional. The backdrops, curving towards the front at each module end, frames the scene while also allowing trains to pass obscured. I'd prefer that the space between the vertical support and the front of the layout be enough that two tracks could be laid down, allowing for sidings to be constructed.

--James:java:

Last edited on Sun Dec 29th, 2013 03:51 am by jtrain

jtrain
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Here is what I'm talking about for the design change:



The diagram on the left represents the end bracket of the previous design. It is essentially an arch on it's side. The problem with arches is that they only work when upright. The forces and stresses on the lumber are shown with colored arrows, red representing the forces exhibited when weight is placed on the module top. Green represents small stresses and orange represents moderate stresses.

The design on the left, the previous design, would have force causing the valance to collapse under pressure. The weak point would be in the upper left, which would sheer and the top of the module would collapse.

The design on the right is my new design, which transfers the same force through a central column and minimizes the sheering action in the upper left by giving the module framework leverage. The left will house the backdrop and the right is open to allow trains to pass.

--James:java:

Milocomarty
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James, change the upper brackets for triangular shaped ones, no need for additional supports

jtrain
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Sorry, I don't quite follow. Do you mean instead of having a vertical column halfway between the back and the front of the module, make that support like a shelf bracket that connects from the 2x2 to the valance?

Milocomarty
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Yes, thats what I mean, use wedge shapes connected to your background support, bit like shelfbrackets but then upside down..



hope you see it a bit in this picture..

bill
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Is the primary purpose of the valence to provide lighting or to protect the module when other modules are stacked for transport? After many years in an HO modular group, being able to leave structures on the modules would be a plus, but I suspect the valence could be a problem. If there is no compelling reason to add lighting, would it be easier to create brackets that would bolt onto the ends of each module to provide the support for stacking and transport. With the light weight module structure, a simple bracket would be strong enough to support another module, especially if you could bolt the top module to the bracket that was also bolted to the bottom module. Just thought.

jtrain
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Martin,

Thanks for the photo, that helped me visualize what you were talking about a lot better. Those brackets would work, the only problem being that to transport the modules, I will need to stack them, but it is a design consideration none the less.

Thank you.

--James:java:

jtrain
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Bill,

Brackets were a thought for me too, but I decided to at least try and design a valance that will be sturdy enough to support 1-2 modules stacked on top of the first. Lighting and backdrop was the main reason to have a valance, as you pointed out. In every show I've been to in the Midwest, the lighting has not been adequate for folks who have limited vision and also for folks carrying cameras. To give a layout a decent amount of light would be very beneficial. So no, lightning isn't necessary, but it is a priority right underneath safety and durability, safety taking precedence overall. On top of this, the valance is visually pleasing and looks very professional, something that also ranks high on my list of elements I want for the layout.

The bracket idea is more or less my backup if spring arrives and I still haven't thought of a decent idea of having legs, bench work, scenery, backdrop and lighting all in one module. The benefit I see with all-in-one module design is the protection the modules give to the scenery and the fact that I won't need to carry around so many boxes full of trains, trees, power supplies, buildings, vehicles and people.

Will I solve the issue? Who knows, but I'm glad you and Martin have given me other options in case my idea doesn't quite work.

--James:java:

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Hi James,
Folding legs built the same way as Martin's picture could solve your problem?
Just a thought

Dennis L:L:

jtrain
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Yes, that is generally what I had in mind for the legs as well, except perhaps I would add angled braces that stretch from about 2/3 the way down the legs and run towards the center of the module.

Thanks.

--James:java:

jtrain
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I've made a break through! After thinking about Martin's and Bill's comments, that got be thinking on how to better transfer weight from the valance to the layout deck and under frame. The main problem lies in the supports to hold up the valance. Originally I wanted to use cut plywood brackets in a squared off C shape to use as ribs that would support the backdrop, layout deck and valance all in one while simultaneously transferring weight from the top to the bottom effectively. Plywood alone is not strong enough to do this, especially with as much as 60-70 pounds of additional weight on top (assuming 1 module weighs 35 pounds and the modules are stacked three high in transport).

Here is how my thought trend has been going:

My idea -> brackets -> Bill's idea -> Martin's idea -> suspension -> bridges -> bridge types -> truss bridge -> truss frame -> truss bracket !BINGO!:!:

Finally get to use the light bulb icon!

Below is what I'm thinking of for brackets:



To keep weight down while maximizing stability and strength, Railroads as well as most other forms to transport utilize a truss bridge design for. Beam bridges are good for short spans, suspensions bridges are great for long spans, but truss bridges combine aspects of both.

One thing to consider is that there are three main types of forces acting on any bridge: tension, compression and sheer.

Tension is a force that attempts to bend or stretch a material in the direction of gravity. The ropes that hold up a swing are under tension.

Compression is a force that attempts to break or squish (for lack of a better word) a material. Columns are under compression, holding up a roof.

Sheer is a force that attempts to break a material along a line perpendicular The 'pin' in the link and pin coupler was always under a sheering force.

A rope or cable can take tension better tan most materials while wood products take compression better than most materials. Plywood, due to it's cross grain strength, can take both compression and tension better than dimensional lumber. Metal is best under a sheering force, or under tension.

Since I don't work with metal, that's out. Rope has no use for be either. So I'm stuck with wood. The key is to minimize any tension and turn it to compression. My idea is to make a sort of truss framework out of 1x2 or 1x3 and some 2x2 pieces of lumber which will transfer forces so that the majority of the lumber is under compression. The green represents compression and the red represents tension. All that force, when exerted on screws in each joint, will be under a sheering force. Since screw are metal, they will withstand sheering quite well if given a good hold and some glue.

I then cut out two pieces of thin plywood and sandwich the framework between the two pieces to make a solid bracket that is quite strong.

With that, I can simply add a light frame made out of plywood around the brackets to get my module. This should hold significantly more force than a simple bracket made out of plywood or dimensional lumber alone. Plus, the bracket has nothing sticking out making the shape awkward.



Each bracket is aligned as so, each connected to the others with plywood. To stiffen up the structure, I can add 1x2 supports where necessary along the plywood.



Here is a cross section of the module with the foam, backdrop and the plywood skin (grey perimeter).

And the full assembly, painted and ready for scenery:



So what does everyone think?

Again, Martin's and Bill's ideas are back ups, bu they are good ideas none the less. I will have to build one of these brackets to see how well they hold weight.

--James:java:

jtrain
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Oh yes, and one other thing. As long as I don't use too much lumber, the module framework should be relatively light. 1x2 lumber and 1/4" plywood isn't really that heavy, and most of the module will be made from just that.

I should say thought that this is what I predict, I'll have to test out the design to see for sure.

--James:java:

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building one of the brackets would be a good idea, I suspect they may be labor intensive.

As for the wood, you may want to try finding spruce or even white cedar, both of which are quite a bit lighter than the "Doug/Hem/Fir" crap that Lowe's or Home Despot will sell you. A good trick is to buy 12 or even 16 footers as they are much better quality wood with straight grain and fewer knots than studs or 8-footers.

Instead of plywood, maybe aluminum?

just a few ideas, good luck and looking forward to seeing her up and running!

jtrain
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Spurce or cedar sounds good to me, much stronger than pine and more rot resistant, but also relatively light.

For plywood, the 1/4" stuff isn't that heavy (and lighter than aluminum if I'm correct), but some aluminum parts might help reduce weight.

Thank you, I'll keep that in mind.

--James:java:

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So Benchwork has pretty much been figured out. Next I wanted to see the area. Although I was close to the real Bard Creek during Christmas (being in the Denver area for a few days) it was winter, a storm had hit and so it didn,'t make any sense to try and get to a backwoods, forest service trail. However, being back home, I was on Google Maps and figured out how to take screen shots of the computer. Below are the first couple of maps that would show where the route would be, if it had existed:



I started with a Google Sat view image to act as a topographical map. the light blue represents the creek, violet representing avalanche runs, yellow shows the rim of the valley on both sides which frame the valley, and white representing modern roads and hiking trails that I could make out through the trees.

The railroad is the red line, following the creek where it appears to be the best route. The orange triangles represent placer and hard rock mines. I've placed eight mine sites in the valley, three that the railroad directly accessed and 5 that a pack mule road met the railroad from the mine site. In addition, there are 5 long spur tracks to reach the mines high up the side of the valley. A couple of these may become switchbacks. The orange lines represent a pack mule trail that goes up the side of the canyon and in between a pair of peaks to access the north side of the valley in Clear Creek canyon, approximately opposite of Silver Plume.

To the upper right, the Bard Creek RR will run to Empire where it interchanges with the Colorado Central/ Colorado Southern. Empire, a mining town, would have been where the Colorado Central ran their line if Berthound Pass wasn't so steep.

Now the beauty of Google Maps is that I can get an angled view of the landscape to get some 3D:



This is the view looking down the valley approximately from Bard Peak, which is slightly to the right and off screen. Silver Plume Mountain is seen to the right.



And another view, this time looking up the valley, but with a wide enough scope to see Empire on the far right below Douglas Mountain. Again, yellow outlines the valley rim. The route my fantasy roadbed would take is about 3 miles from the pond above Empire to the end of the line, with only a mile to go before reaching the top end of the valley. Total distance is about 4.2 miles from Empire to end of track.

The sad part about such a short route is that in order to fully model the scene in 1:20.3, I'd still need about 130 modules.:shocked:

So this route will never be fully modeled, at least single-handed by myself. However, parts and piece of the line can be modeled. I'm starting with a mere 20 ft of mainline next to one of the mines Likely camp 4 or 5, being close to the river.

Also, counting all the mines including the mule road, that means nine modules plus a few that display complete wilderness.

--James:java:

Herb Kephart
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Great Work, James.

 As you say, there is no way to model it all ......but

How about pioneering something really unique?

1/2 Z scale?

Motors might be somewhat of a problem--but think of the scenery possibilities--human hair for tree trunks. dust bunnies for vegetation.
Even germs for forest critters.

Some imagination might be needed.

Herb

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Herb,

You're saying I should build a model railroad on my scalp? (hair, dust, germs).:P:P

At least I'd be able to model a forest fire pretty effectively by getting a hair cut and some germ-X.

--James:java:

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Anyone want to see what 100+ modules would look like?



1:20.3 might be big, but not THIS big!

--James:java:

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Herb Kephart wrote:
How about pioneering something really unique?
1/2 Z scale?
You're a little bit late about that.
Motors aren't a problem with today's smartphones needing vibrating devices.
Have a look.

Talking about modules - that FREMO H0 convention in the Netherlands is impressive, now can you imagine that the group of TT nuts ( 3/4 the size of H0 ) I belong to come up with arrangements of the same size, and even N-scalers succeed in doing so.

Last edited on Thu Jan 30th, 2014 07:49 am by Helmut

jtrain
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Time for another post. After looking at Google Maps, tracing the route my fictional railroad, then looking at various spectacles in Colorado that are railroad related, as well as looking at plenty more in a few books I purchased...

After all that I created a system map or diagram of the Bard Creek which shows every turnout, every turntable, station, water tower, bridge, etc...

Since I can't keep the image to a respectable size when pasting from my blog, I'll leave it up for a few days here on freerails.com for everyone to have a chance to look before removing it here. But I will keep the link up.



The map pretty much speaks for itself. And yes, I plan to have snow sheds at some point. try to follow the track as if it were a generally straight mainline, i.e. all those big turns, most of them, are there because I had to sandwich a lot of track onto one sheet of Microsoft paint, and of course it isn't to scale.

Here's the link for those who wish to see it on my blog... no not that one... or that one... ah here it is:
http://www.bardcreekrr.blogspot.com/

I've got too many blogs!

--James:java:

Last edited on Fri Feb 7th, 2014 02:59 am by jtrain

Salada
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James,

When up & running are you thinking of running your train(s) directly from one module to another or having a "spacer" or a bit of neutral scenery between each module ?.

How are you going to manage the transition of scenery, track layout & traffic etc. between adjacent modules ?.

Ambitious !!


Regards                                       Michael 

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Michael,

G scale, or in my case F scale, is large enough that I shouldn't need transition pieces between modules for the track.

For scenery, I plan on several things:

1. Keeping the colors the same between modules: same color dirt, rocks, grasses, and shrubs.

2. There will be a sort of neutral ground. Cliffs recede into the backdrop, and so each end of the module will be flat and able to connect to another module without any visible seams...

3. Unless I am modeling a scene that requires modules to be connected together in a certain formation. In that case, the scenery will match up for joints between modules.

For instance, I eventually want to have a small yard to act a staging during shows, and to provide other important functions when running at home. The yard may require 3-4 modules which will always be set up in the same way. In that instance, the scene will be continuous without any scene breaks.

I was also thinking about going back to a previous design that was a shadow box style, so each module is it's own scene. While that won't give me a continuous scene, it will make joining completely different scenes together much easier.

I'll have to draw up more Microsoft Paint diagrams to illustrate my idea better.

--James:java:

Last edited on Thu Feb 13th, 2014 02:52 am by jtrain

Salada
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Hi James,

You've clearly been thinking this through in a logical manner. I like your ideas of complimentary scenery colours & the neutral ground with receding scenic features towards the end of each module.

There used to be a couple of module based layouts on the English Exhibition circuit where each 'unit' was built by a different person or Club. Despite the compatible track centres etc. at the end of each module there was always a strange sudden shift of scenery & modelling style between each module. The inevitable "over-bridge out of nowhere" or the 6" long tunnel to separate each module simply doesn't work from what I have seen.

I have seen a few (very few) shadow box style individual self contained dioramas/modules  but I am not aware of anybody doing a connected series of shadow boxes - potentially a very interesting concept.

Regards & Good Luck !                                  Michael

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There's a type of shadow box micro layout that used APA boxes. I have no idea what APA stands for, but it apparently worked quite well to have small modules about 3 feet long and 16" deep, even for larger scales like On30. There's a man who lived near where I used to live in Minnesota. Others may have seen his name around, Ian Holmes. He's often credited with starting the APA style "micro" layouts.

So if there is anything, or anyone, I can credit with the idea, it would be him. Also, the late Carl Arendt was a big supporter of micro layouts, and I'm designing this F scale layout to essentially be an over-sized micro. Nothing complicated, but hopefully professional looking and interesting.

--James:java:

Last edited on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 12:14 am by jtrain

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I now have made a track plan for the first three modules.

I decided to go with the end of the line at the Highmore Mine (name subject to change). It consists of one turnout, a snow shed, and a creek crossing. Being near the top of the valley, the creek is nothing more than an intermediate trickle of water. The snow shed, also being so far up the mountain will be fully enclosed. This will provide me with a hidden fiddle yard. There will also be a small station and a freight dock for unloading supplies for both the mine, and the camp. I have one LGB combine which will be the main passenger car until the layout expands in the future. The combine is my biggest car, and so I'm designing spur lengths around it.

The track plan is known as a"tuning fork." It's simple, but very effective for small layouts. The interest of a railroad is not determined by the number of turnouts, but rather by the needs of the industries the railroad serves.

I've kept the width of the modules to 30" for easy access. Using that measurement, all of my modules will be built in multiples of 30". So I will have 30", 60", and 90" module lengths. This will allow me to interchange modules more easily as the railroad grows. The track will also be placed along the center line of the module like Free-mo. This design allows equal scenery in front of and behind the ROW, which will hopefully give some depth to the scenes being modeled. I will still have about 12" of space on each side of the ROW for buildings. In F scale that isn't much, but I can use plenty of relief structures to give me more space.

The plan is starting to come together. Now I've got to start stashing cash to get ready for the three big buys this spring: Track, lumber, and the much needed RR cars (most of my rolling stock currently is old LGB that looks more European than American)

Locomotives have already been taken care of. I have a Bachmann Porter and the D&RGW side rod diesel #50, which the prototype is currently in the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.

I plan to commence the kitbashing of several Bachmann Bobber cabeese, which I've had my eye on from an online site, as soon as college lets out May 10th. Lumber and track will be bought at about that time. My resource for track is switchcrafters.com. I'm either getting brass rail, or I'm going with code 215 aluminum. I think indoors aluminum will be adequate, but brass has been tried and true outdoors.

And before I forget, here is my track plan concept:



One module is 60 inches, another is 90 inches, and the third is 30 inches in length, resulting in a total 180 inch by 30 inch layout. Sounds pretty big, but remember, that is only 10 inches by 60 inches in HO scale. Definitely a large scale micro!

--James:java:

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jtrain wrote: There's a type of shadow box micro layout that used APA boxes. I have no idea what APA stands for,
Here it is

Last edited on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 05:32 pm by Helmut

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Yeah, G'day James,

Your modular design is very similar to the following: http://www.krmodels.com.au/module.html

I'm thinking of using this very same design template for an 8'x1' shelf layout, but constructing it from lightweight foamboard (and, yes, this has already been done on at least one Australian layout: Brooklyn 3AM).

Dorian

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Dorian,

Brooklyn 3AM happens to be where I got the idea for the design. That and the large micro layout website, carendt.com.

--James:java:

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Dorian--

After spending 5 minutes trying to find a trackplan in the link that you posted I finally gave up.

website!


Herb

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Nope, no track plan in that link. That is just showing the bench work design. Track plan and other information about Brooklyn 3 AM can be seen here:

http://www.carendt.com/scrapbook/page87/

One of the best scrapbook pages Carl Arendt ever put together in my opinion. Prof Klyzlr is a true master of his craft!

--James:java:

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Oppps ... one strike against my (and by the Administrator, no less). Sorry, 'bout that, Herb.

As James points out, the link was referencing the design particulars of constructing a monocoque module unit. (Suppose the problem lies with the rather flexible use of the term "module" when we talk about them.)

Sorry you thought the site was not worth the visit. Personally, I found it to be invaluable when considering the design of strong and lightweight bench work.

Dorian

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Awww now, you just gotta know Herbie! Him & I are dinosaurs and rarely look at "modern ways" of doing things. I checked out that link and saw some great ideas for modular construction but sadly, none are similar to the way I do things. But then, I don't build modules, just pieces which may or may not fit together (without modifications). I don't know...but 2" blue foam sections sitting on top of camera tripods have lasted years outside, are lightweight and strong. But then maybe it's because I got an attitude! Yep, that's it...attitude.
Just have fun and run a train today.

Woodie-the original Outlaw troublemaker

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If the new addition fits, it's time to break out a cold one...

and if it doesn't, that's why we have duct tape!:dt::dt::dt:

--James:java:

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Yup !! A Dino-sewer !! Dat be my excuse!

Truth is, just like Woodrow, I've been building layouts since nearly half way through the last century, and still use the the way that was standard back then. Works just fine for my needs. So I don't pay a lot of attention--er--I don't pay any attention-- to new ways to screw and glue wood together. If it ain't broke, fix it till it is.

I'm a card carrying Luddite, and dang proud of it.

But what I specifically didn't like about the website was the fact that I constantly found myself back at the start. Don't take it personal. Took quite some time, but I finally got Woodie to ignore what I say. Took several bottles of Wellers Scotch-----

Herbasaurus---  Which some crude people pronounce  Herb a sore ass.  

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Herb,

I fully agree, the site is (in parts) a navigational nightmare. I probably should have just linked directly to the Australian Model Rail-zine $100 module url rather than to the layout page.

Personally, have nothin' at all against dinosaurs (excepting the big, purple Barney). ;)

Anywho, didn't mean to hijack your thread, James.

Dorian

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It was getting stagnant until you came along. I'm actually glad you posted otherwise there'd be nothing else to talk about. This railroad won't see much progress until I'm out of college for the summer and able to build the layout.

--James:java:

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W C Greene wrote:
But then maybe it's because I got an attitude! Yep, that's it...attitude.


I wonder... if someone's attitude was uppity, would it be an altitude? :)

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Uppatude.

Herbadude

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Okay everyone, time for an update.

While at Spring Break I had a chance to get my old trailer fixed up and the interior re-done. When the railroad is built, it will either be stored in the back of my truck or in the trailer. Since we all know what a pick-up bed looks like, I don't need to show photos of that. BUt just for laughs, here's the trailer:





This isn't a joke, that's actually my trailer. I use it for summer housing and winter storage. In Minnesota I call it an Ice fishing shack without holes, in South Dakota I call it a mobile storage unit; everyone else calls it an eyesore!

This will be the official trailer of the Bard Creek railroad, an all my other railroading projects. The interior measures 52" by 110", and the outside is 58" by 120". It's completely home built, but it has a title and a plate.

*On a side note I think I beat everyone else for the most ridiculous lace to put a railroad.:moose:*

With that said, I have to turn back to the railroad. The door is quite skinny, and in fact will only allow a 22" wide object through the door, so that meant a complete redesign of the railroad.

For the module dimensions, I can easily still fit multiple 8 foot modules in the trailer, and I can make the modules fairly tall too, but that means the width has to be shaven down a bit. So behold, my solution and hopefully the last rethink of the design before I begin construction:



I will start with two modules that are 8 foot long and 22 inches wide, I'l place them back to back and viola, I have a 44 inch by 96 inch railroad.

I'm sure everyone by now thinks I've lost my mind, because 44" for a loop of G scale track is very tight. But, the locomotives I own are all 0-4-0 type wheel configurations, and nearly all my rolling stock is two axle shorty cars, so the trains will run fine on the tight curves, as long as the couplers work, which means I might go to link and pin if I run into trouble.

One module will feature a creek and a small mine settled between towering cliffs, and the other side will feature part of a mining camp. The track leading off to the side will be where I have a large cassette to act as a fiddle yard and interchange. This is also the expansion point for the railroad.

Once I have space for a proper modular railroad in Fn3 scale, My plan is for this to become a traveling 13.7 scale railroad, and will be able to expand to include a yard, other mines, perhaps a full mining camp, and not to mention spectacular scenery. So I'm not giving up on the modular concept, I simply realized that there is no practical, and cheap way to store something that takes up a large amount of space.

By the time that comes around I hope to have a better truck, and a bigger trailer.

So any thoughts on the concept?

--James:java:

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And I forgot to mention this new desing will also be cheaper. I've further reduced my costs after I uncovered some old LGB cars I forgot I had. They look like this:



I used them in a similar fashion to log disconnets, but with a bit of modification and kitbashing, these cars will be great for the railroad. I have six of these, which means I might need to buy a couple Hartland Locomotive works cars to bring it to 8 cars. That would be about right for a small railroad like what I'm constructing.

Then I can throw money for some sort of control system. I was thinking about going for the Next Generation Revolution, using a battery car with the electronics in it.

That particular item is one of the few things to have survived the Closing of Aristo Craft trains, and since It's so popular in the large scale community, I don't see it going anywhere.

That also means.... No track power! :rah::rah::rah:

Which is the biggest headache large scale modelers have. I've battled dirty track on every railroad, so something like this is a relief. Then I can save further money by going with aluminum track. The only downside will be the necessity of batteries, but slow running on a layout like this won't be straining the batteries one bit, I'l probably need something like 2.4 Amp/hour or 3.6 Amp/hour batteries. With something like that on a locomotive which barely draws and amp during normal running, I can expect 3 hours of constant running.

Finally, I've also have a deadline. Much like Martin, I seem to produce good results when I have a deadline to work with.

There's the Granite City Train show in St. Cloud, MN, which is 190 miles away, so about 4 hours. That show is November 15th. It seems far, but I know the roads well, as well as a couple short cuts. It's a one day show, but the show is hugely popular, not to mention I used to attend the show before moving to South Dakota, so it'll be like going back to where the hobby began for me. The only thing that would stop me is the weather, which can get nasty in November, but usually doesn't get terrible.

The other show is in Sioux Falls, SD for the Trees and Trains exhibits festival. Pretty much everyone from Minneapolis to Rapid City will be attending the three day show, and I'm less than an hour away. That show is yet to be determined, but it is usually the weekend before thanksgiving.

Then there's all the spring shows...

But that is yet to be planned out. So my deadline is November 1st, and my start date is about May 10th. That leaves me with 25 weeks, working in between college duties, and work duties. Really this will be a challenge, because put together, I work as much as 60 hours a week between those two obligations, So I'm looking at maybe 12 hours a week of work average, giving me around 300 hours of work for this railroad. This work includes all the detailing, weathering, kit bashing, constructing that I want to do before the shows. Definitely doable, but a challenge none-the-less.

--James:java:

Last edited on Sun Apr 6th, 2014 03:14 am by jtrain

Herb Kephart
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Who in the h**l would build a railroad in a trailer?



Like yours James, it has way too many wheels under it, but it might have a little more room inside.

And a pickup won't pull it

But have you ever seen a larger "portable" railroad container?

 Next time a 53"x102"   102" more handy than the extra 13" of length--but go with a reefer (insulated) and a side door, no matter what.

James- you could extend the width out over the wheels for a great increase in usable width.

We should have a "Railroads in Trailers forum at FreeRails  ------NO?


Herb

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Herb, the difference between my crazy idea and your's is that my trailer, or three of them, could fit in 53 foot reefer:bg:

However, I must compliment you, that has to be one of the best ideas I've ever seen, using a 53 foot trailer to house a model railroad. If you happen to have a diesel unit to pull the trailer you could take it to shows. Forget set up, just park it and put some steps out for people to walk in.

The main reason I built my trailer so narrow is that the trailer is only 10 foot long and with a wheelbase of 68 inches, it isn't what you'd call stable. I made the box narrower than the wheels to keep the weight centered. Even in a cross wind, which I get plenty of out on the plains, the forces acting on the trailer push one side into the ground. If that force was applied outside the wheelbase the trailer would be picked up instead of forced down, resulting in a roll over. So essentially, the width was chosen for stability.

It's also not what you'd call aerodynamic. But it works and I never get over the looks people give me when I take it to a camp site. I don't think the KOA would ever let me join their camper club;)

With all that said, one day I do plan a rebuild, and perhaps I'll make it strictly a cargo trailer to haul around a modular railroad, but first I've got to have a steady job and a permanent place to live. Currently I have College apartment in the Winter and this in the Summer, so I'm quite mobile.

--James:java:

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James, I spent last fall in a trailer not unlike yours, except it was built on a 20ft gooseneck frame and was so heavy a F-350 dually had a hard time pulling it around. We called it Melvin.

As a person who lives in a bedroll and lived in some pretty 'rustic' cow camps, have you considered making your trailer one side of a baker tent? Make the trailer the permanent dry storage/workshop with access to a canvas walled tent attached to a side of the trailer for living in.

Just throwing ideas out for another guy who is a vagobond model railroader...

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Excellent idea, except I'm actually quite comfortable as it is. I plan to do something similar to woodie and have the layout be outside when in use, and either stored in the trailer or in the back of the pickup when not in use. But thanks for the idea, I'll keep it in mind.

I was thinking about using copper pipe and a tarp to make a sun shade. Since I'm going to be in the Badlands of South Dakota this summer, it will be a lot like death valley. good thing my work has air conditioning! (and my trailer)

--James

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Time for a bit of an update.

As I reviewed the laws of physics, it struck me why the original design of having a "c" shape cross-section would be too unstable.

Well, I realized that if the layout framework was shallower than the backdrop supporting the overhang is tall, then leverage works in favor of the vertical supports.

Since the module has to fit within the trailer door opening of 22 inches, I re-thought my design so now I will have modules 22" deep with a backdrop 30" tall.

The diagram below isn't to scale, but everything is pretty closely proportional:



I'm certain this design will work, and should look good, AND should be relatively light weight.

The track will be no less than 4 inches from the backdrop wall or from the front of the display. Subtract that and the 2 inch thick vertical supports and that gives the track 12" of space to play with (front of display to the back of the display). The reason for the 4" rule is so that trains won't fall off the display or scratch up the backdrop if they ever derail. Also, that allows for building flats and vegetation between the tracks and the backdrop while allowing a similar amount of room in front for the same stuff. The overall effect of having scenery both in front and behind the trains should make the scene feel deeper, fuller, and more realistic.

Now the only problem with this is that to have an oval within these confines means having 30" diameter curves. It's doable, but won't look right. So this display might end up being what is called a "Part time oval" which is essentially a switching layout that can have curve sections added to it and a straight section along the back to make an oval when at a show, but will be a switching layout most of the time.

I think this could work and I am finally satisfied with the design.

Construction to begin in three weeks!

--James:java:

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Only one more week before construction begins!

--James:java:

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CONSTRUCTION BEGINS!!!!!!!

Yep, I finally was able to get a start the Clear Creek project this week, with today having my first real progress. I tried several different designs for the module, to see which fit the best...

And I found that the first design was the best of all for weight, to size, to practicality. I've also pretty much threw out the idea of modular pieces, instead I've decided on a sectional layout which will start small, but I can add to it at any time. So sorry for anyone who was hoping for a true modular layout in Fn3, but this design suits me best so I have to go with that. I will still explore other option for the benefit of anyone following the blog.

Today I got the basic frame for the first section done, and and I also marked where the track will go on this section Finally, I also glued down and roughly cut out the foam board base. Costs so far are running about $50 for each module ($10 in lumber, $40 in foam board). I think I'll be doing pretty good if I can keep my budget to around $100 a module for scenery, buildings, and track. I'm not buying anything pre-built or kit built, I'm scratch building and scrounging for most materials. Shout out to Joey Ricard, I'm re-watching some of his youtube videos and will be trying some of his techniques. Just thought I should give credit where it's due.

Anyway, I'll shut up now and let the photos speak for themselves:






I'll have more tomorrow as I take a look at buildings and pictures of Forks Creek via an Internet database I found of C&S photos.

--James:java:

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Completely forgot about updates with work and school yanking me from the trains. I'll be posting updates on the last 2 months of progress very soon. I'm currently at the stage of laying track, with ground cover being laid down as well.

Sorry for the lack of posts:doh::doh::doh:

--James:java:

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Hi James

Great start.
you don't see many large scale layouts especially in the UK we don't have the room and end up in the garden.

Cheers Dan

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:moose::moose::moose::moose::moose:

Lookin' good James !

Si.

:cool:

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Okay, yes, updates, still got to get on that. First work now school's in the way. When will the vicious cycle end? Probably when I'm 6 feet underground.

Anyway, I had a couple questions about motive power...

It seems to me that with the tight turns, and light rail; larger locomotives weren't allowed up Clear Creek. The B class 2-8-0's seem too big. That leaves the smaller 2-6-0 moguls to the task of running on clear creek correct? And of those locomotives, only engine #9 seems to have survived to the present day. Where is #9 currently at? I'd love to take pictures of her and get more information.

In large scale, the Bachmann 2-6-0 doesn't look right to me, it doesn't have the correct profile (boiler is too small, cab is too high up, wrong front end, etc... In fact, it looks like the old LGB moguls are the only thing out there that resemble the 2-6-0 locomotives. Any other manufacturers of 2-6-0's in G scale?

Finally, rolling stock. Was it mostly 30 ft cars? It would appear so, since the surviving Georgetown Loop has a curve with only a 300' diameter!

Any help, links, or sources would be appreciated.
Thanks!
--James:java:

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No 9 is, or was supposed to be, plinthed at Breckenridge CO. But I can't find any photos of it in situ.

Baldwin Class B-4-E lightweight Consolidateds were used on the Clear Creek.
Only 19,848 lbs tractive effort so 4 cars max on steep grades.

I don't know what $$ a second hand Bachmann G Mogul would cost - perhaps worth butchering one to suit ??. Cut the boiler fittings off & roll a new boiler or suitable diam pipe ?.


Regards                         Michael

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I was thinking the same thing, find a suitable chassis and go from there. The problem the Bachmann Mogul has is that the boiler is too small, and overall seems to be a smaller locomotive. What would seem to e more suitable would be to take a Bachmann ten-wheeler and butcher it down to the frame, modify front truck to only have one axle instead of two, and then rebuild it from scaled down plans.

But, if connies were more prototypical, I know of several examples on display in the region that I can take pictures of at some point later this year. The only problem is finding a suitable frame since I don't have the equipment to make my own.

Except, I just ran across this for $200 online:



It's 1/24, but I think it could be modified pretty easily. We're only talking about enlarging it by a factor of 1:1.18. The driver wheels might be an inch or two off, but since when have I counted rivets.

Thanks,

--James:java:

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any new updates?

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Sorry Ty, but I realized that (at least for the foreseeable future) I don't have the space, so I've been pondering my next step for quite some time and I still don't quite know what it is yet. However, I can tell you that somehow, in the future, Fn3 will be a project.

--James:java:


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