I was going to use woodland scenics foam grades to achieve the 4% grade.
I was going to build up the thickness of the layout quite thick with foam. Maybe 8 inches of foam and have the trestle be around 7 inches tall.
Im not sure what kind of problems an 8" thick layout is going to present. I was going to use manual throws for the switches, and only have feeder wires to a few parts of the layout... I cant really foresee and major issues with this plan.
Last edited on Sun Jan 3rd, 2016 02:10 pm by Sean W
Probably the simplest loader I can think of for coal is a dump ramp where dump trucks back up a ramp (or hillside) and unload their coal down a ramp and into the waiting train car For a small space this would work well since all you would need is a section of road and a dump chute to the train tracks. If you want automated loading, the only way to do so is modeling a small mine, which can be pretty small when you get down to it.
As for the lumber mill, you could model anything from a large complex such as what you would see in the Northwest or you could model a small outfit with one saw in an open-air shed. The main thing is that the mill itself was in the middle, tracks ran past the mill to the lumber yard to be loaded and tracks stopped short at a staging point for the log cars coming from the woods (usually a small pond or even a bare lot on smaller mills). It's completely up to you how much machinery you want to include in the lumber mill. Many small outfits had one or two saws and used horses to drag the logs around the lumber yard, even into the 1930's and 40's. A friend of my grandfathers was logging his land in Northern Minnesota with a team of draft horses before WWII broke out. He didn't have a railroad, but it stands to reason a sightly larger operation could have had a spur to the sawmill.
Anyways, good luck on the build, I can't wait to see it completed!