Wednesday, January 18, 2012

0015 Savannah Central - Need a Room Stretcher

I finally figured out the size of a layout room that I need.  We're looking at something just a little smaller than Rhode Island.  But that is in N scale.  There is never enough room!  My plans are like my wife; constantly bloating and expanding.

(ouch...that hurt...stop hitting me...ouch!)

6.  Missing hidden staging
I didn't plan any hidden or visible staging for trains on the layout.  This may be a problem.  I'm changing my mind for this to be a bridge railroad between the Atlantic Coast Line and the Southern Railway.  It would be a more interesting running railroad if it had more traffic.  We'll look at this.

I don't want to put in hidden or exposed staging because it just eats up too much room and I'm too crowde already.  So what we'll do it turn back to a design that I did for the HOG called a TWINTERCHANGE.  A twinterchange is a dual purpose interchange for small layouts.  Essentially it is one each dual ended interchange that serves two different railroad depending on which direction you approach.  In our case, if you are at the end of the line it is the Atlantic Coast Line.  If you pass the SCR engine terminal you arive at the Southern Railway interchange.  Remember the "loads in, empties out" concept?  This is the same thing except an interchange is the customer.  Let's say the ACL has a perishable train going north.  They would drop it at the yard and the SCR would pick it up, carry it over their line as "bridge" traffic, and drop it off (at the same yard) which will now be Southern's interchange track.  I have added more storage tracks to the yard (one spur for both in and out) and a passing side.  Need a loco pocket but not sure where to put it.

7.  Turntable, required for turning steam.  Source of problems.
Honestly I hate turntables.  They are a maintenance nightmare.  The are prone to frequent breakdowns, dirt and electrical conductivity problems.  The best ones are scratchbuilt.  AP rules say I have to put in a system for turning locos which is pretty much a turntable, wye or loop.  Maybe we should look at a loop.  One good thing is that a turntable counts as a structure, which I need for AP Structures.  I'll look at putting a loop on the layout, but don't want to back off of the turntable just yet.  Maybe do both.

I decided that I'm going to build a working turntable.  I've never built one and I need to do it.  It does count for AP Structures.  However I did decide to put in an "emergency" train turning system.  What we'll do is disguise it as an in/out industry...I always liked those and want to put one on my railroad.

You can see the industry in orange.  It is built on both sides of the backdrop but will be two different companies that trade in a similar commodity so that the same rolling stock can be used.  Let's say for now that one side is Cordelle Cottonseed Oil and the other side is Plantation Cottonseed & Peanut Company.  Both take tankers and box cars.  So you drop off an empty on one side, pick up and empty or load on the other side.  Meanwhile you have a great way to turn your trains if the turntable breaks down...and they do.

8.  Fireplace hearth is 2" high and is a trip hazard
My friend Bob has a fabulous Union Pacific layout.  There's only one problem with it.  Near the Green River yard there is an extension of the fireplace that comes out into the aisle that is about 3/4 of a brick high.  Guess who trips over it even though I know it is there.  This happens often.  Once I clean out the basement I'll take a look at how dangerous it is.

Here's a picture of the culprit.  Only about 2.5" high, it is just enough to catch your foot.  What a pain.  It is quite dangerous.  I could chisel it out and carpet it, but that is time, money and modification to the room that I just won't do.  I guess we'll live with it.  Ideas anyone???

9.  Two problematic S curves

The two areas encircled contain "S" curves.  While they don't look dangerous on the trackplan, they are as problematic as two women in one house.  These little guys are notorious for unhooking railcars.  Both of these need to be fixed.  The one on the left has a long enough passing siding that I can shorten it and get the turnout away from the curve.  The other one on the right needs to be pushed up in to the curve or down in front of the fireplace.  We'll work these out.

The two major S curves were eliminated...

10.  Too much track within 2" of the fascia
My philosophy on model railroads is that track to scenery ratios need to be very low, "sincere" and look less like modern operating layouts.  One trick is to NOT run the track along the edge of the fascia as it makes it look toyish and more like a slot car track.  I need to put more that 2" of scenery on the front of most of the layout so I will work on pushing the track back.

Some times you have to give in.  Once I get all the track work in I'll figure out where I can add some benchwork to improve the front toward the fascia.  Not much you can do with a "railfanner's layout" like this one.  The curves dictate the track falling on the fascia.

Ok...we got most of these fixed!  Let's give her a test run!

I put a steam engine and six cars, along with a caboose on for a ride.  There were no track hiccups so that is good.  The length of the mainline is actually pretty good considering how small this layout it.

We'll keep improving it!


  1. Scott, what about a thin foam or plywood ramp you can put down around the fireplace base during operating sessions so people don't trip. That or telltales.


    1. Hey...good idea! I could build a false floor and ramp over it to level it out! Brilliant! Thanks for the great idea...

      Telltales...make them with chain and little maces on the ends....hmmmm


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