My first instinct in planning smaller, after the description of why we need to go smaller, was to freak out again. I’ve planned and re-planned a layout so many times here in the last few years, getting going on that again seemed like a daunting task.
However, my wife, with one statement, brought it into focus with what to do. We both have loved the research of Cincinnati, OH and the N&W there, so her suggestion was “draw that”.
Without worrying about connecting to anything else, I sat down and used some inspiration from “48 Top Notch Track Plans” by Bod Hayden, and the ‘Third Street Industrial District’ layout presented within to get started. I find often that making changes to published plans lets me envision more quickly what will and won’t fit in a space.
The agreed space is 2’ deep and 11’ long. This will be broken into 2 pieces, a 5’ long and a 6’ long section. Call it modular, call it ‘TOMA’, call it whatever, this is what fits in the space available to store a layout. On either end there will be a 3’ transfer table attached so the layout will be 17’ long when fully set up.
Working from East to West along the new plan:
You enter from a transfer table-style staging in the lower right and pass a passenger station. There are two long tracks, mainline and passing track, but the passing track has a crossover allowing for a “house track” use of some of that space. If you go just above the station, there are two tracks there to serve a large freight house and team yard.. Back to the mainline, and on the left side of the plan, a switchback industrial area for a few industries, and in the lower left, a long siding or another large industry. The track that cuts through the center of the plan reaches more industries at the rear. they look close to that edge on both top and bottom, but the paper is 18 and the layout is 24 deep, so there’s room. The mainline exists to the West onto another transfer table.
There is some additional planning to do, so stay tuned. We need to assign locations to structures, but that’ll be fun to sit down and do over the upcoming weekend.
This solves quite a few issues as well. I’ve written before about the 1927 coal fleet of the N&W and how hard that is to model without extensive use of stand-ins. While I still plan to have coal running, because it ran through headed West, the number of cars hauling coal that I need falls greatly with this plan for Cincinnati. Also, the abandonment of the need for a continuous running loop means that the layout fits in a smaller space, and I can still set it up myself, without help, if I need to. There are places for the boxcars, tank cars, and other equipment that we’ve started building, and the more urban structures that we have and want to build fit, with more room to add additional models. This plan also, you’ll note, does not have a classic yard, meaning trains will arrive blocked from staging and any sorting that needs to be done will be done between the main and the passing track here.
We still plan to operate through trains, interchange trains, the local that will do the majority of the work, and passenger trains. It’s going to be a busy layout.
What about the coal mines and coal hauling?
We’re addressing that too. I’ll explain that in another post shortly.