Finding time in late November and December to do much modeling is always a challenge. There are many other things, important things, that involve family and friends spending time together that can take our hobby time away, or in our case, occupy the space that the workshop often occupies with a Christmas tree and other decorations.
It isn’t, however, impossible to do anything. Often I find myself with a few minutes in the evening with time to do some research, and I’ve spent that time the last week or so looking at Sanborn maps of Cincinnati. I found a set of maps from 1922 with 1927 updates at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County website. (http://digital.cincinnatilibrary.org/digital/).
Using the map I had previously gotten from the Norfolk & Western Historical Society, I homed in on really the heart of the N&W industrial switching operations in the city. After printing the maps that I downloaded, I used a cutting mat, straight edge, and hobby knife to cut and stitch together a larger version of the N&W map. With everything pieced together, I then cut away with scissors to make a focused almost aerial view of the railroad, I believe in 1927 or close to.
It’s fascinating to start putting some physical buildings with the simple track line-drawing that I started with, and to see everything starting to have some scale. The information has started to paint a picture for me that will influence the track plan that I develop in the next few weeks.
As I started piecing this all together, I found myself starting to orient where an operator of this as a model railroad would stand, what the view would be, and what kind of compression would be necessary for modeling this part of the N&W. I’m still working that out, but the operating potential here is obvious to me.
Many of the larger industries seen in the maps have coal deliveries being made for furnaces or power plants. Many of the smaller industries are somewhat unique. A shoe Last company, soap companies, lumber…. But the sheer size of the massive metal working facilities is what catches my eye immediately.
I’m just getting started with digging into the industries, to see if I can find photos of any of them, but even representational versions would make operating the Cincinnati area of our layout something that would keep a crew busy for a while.
With the Sanborn maps now assembled, it’s probably time to start sketching out some track plan ideas. That’ll be fun. In our house, that means more paper, cutting, folding, tape, and full size mockups to move things around.