Achievable Layout Plan – The Watsonville Branch

How big is your layout?  Do you have a monster empire?  Probably not.  Most folks, if they can manage it, probably are dreaming about building a layout in a spare bedroom, or for those truly lucky to live in a place where the weather allows, maybe a garage.  Not all of us have room for the basement empire that takes over vast expanses of space.  Some of us, like me, even live in spaces where the layouts must be portable and share space when in use with other functions of the house, meaning that they’re less than permanent, be it a temporary or long-term arrangement.

Trevor Marshall has a whole blog dedicated to what he terms “Achievable Layouts”.  I would encourage anyone interested in the concept to visit and read the posts there.  Trevor’s own Port Rowan layout in S scale is, in my opinion, a fantastic look at what can be done, and the kind of modeling that can be done, in a relatively small space.

From time to time I try and help friends with layout designs.  Within the last few months, I was chatting with one of my friends named Bill, (I have lots of friends named Bill suddenly these days which isn’t bad).  Bill has an HO scale layout but my switch to Proto48 last year made him think about tearing down his layout and making a scale change as well.  The first argument against doing so was that he’d have to rebuild his benchwork.  My statement to him was, send me your dimensions and let me see what I can draw in O scale for you.  He then said that the layout would have to be based on the area around Watsonville, CA, and I quickly found some resources for the area (being a fan of pre-depression modeling, the resources that I focused on are primarily 1920’s and earlier).  A few days later, I emerald him the track plan and information shared here. You can click on the photos and get larger versions of these.

The layout is designed for probably two crews of two and an agent who is acting as the industry managers and statin agent / dispatcher.  If operated at scale speeds and time for pumping air into brakes, filling out paperwork, and making switching moves, this layout likely would take those two crews multiple hours to switch the industries.  Movers would include things like getting reefers to the ice house, moving cars into and out of the packing houses, and some of the other industries along the way.  The plan is drawn for Ow5 using Atlas track components, and it includes s spot to park locomotives (likely a SP 2-6-0 and because my friend models slightly later than I do, some early diesel switchers).  

I think that sharing layout plans like this is important. I would consider this to be an “achievable layout” because it’s already known that a more complicated HO scale layout fits in the space, and that prior layout could provide what is essentially a quick-start by donating it’s existing benchwork to the new plan. 

Once I’d shared this plan with Bill, he informed me that he may or may not decide to exit HO, but above the existing HO scale layout, there is a shelf that could be used for an O scale switching layout.  I’ll share that plan in another post soon.


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