Saturday, May 9, 2015

001 Mammoth Cave Railroad - Trackplan

We are changing our mind on the Skeleton Crew layout.  The swamp just doesn't have enough trackage to keep people interested.  It needs two trains.  So we are moving the venue to Kentucky and its enormous Mammoth Cave.  There was a real Mammoth Cave Railroad with cool little dinkey porters.  Just screams to be modeled.

Our railroad is mostly in the explosives business, and shall be processing saltpeter which is also known as potassium nitrate.  Saltpeter is used in gunpowder, and also makes a powerful fertilizer.  More on the commodity later...

 There isn't enough grade for an over and under layout, and I do want to run two locomotives at a time for spectator interest.  That leaves one solution, two loops of track, one higher than the other.  I start with the first track plan and its 10 1/2" radius curves.

 My first try is to copy the lower level and paste it on top as an inverted loop.

 The plan of the railroad is to take guano out of the cave, Take it to a processor, then load it into railcars to be shipped to the river and loaded on ferries.  In order to do that there has to be a material exchange from the top level to the bottom.  That means the lower level needs to be outside the upper level and on tangent track for a short period of time.  I change the top loop and add a siding on the inside of the loop for the cave/mine.

The two straight sections on top will become a transfer station for bat poop (technical term!)

The beauty of On30 is that you can get really silly with the scenery.  I'm putting in a steep canyon with a fast moving river, a small but navigable river and dock, and the cave itself higher up.  The left hand side will be dual tunnels so that we can make the mountainside look bigger.

Tunnel portals have been added, including the cave mouth.

 I've added the hopper/dumper transfer station up top, a small mine manager's office high on the mountain, and a very small station for passengers to get on the railroad.  The two curves over the gorge will be spanned with steel trestles and a ton of rust!

Tight On30 layouts give rise to really weird track arrangements like this curve directly over the lower track.  While it would be very odd to see this in real life, it just gives me a great opportunity to build some interesting steel supported track and add more rust.  Add this to steep cliffs, rushing rivers and lots of gray boulders lined with thick, deciduous trees and you have a wonderful layout!

Time to make some benchwork!