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N Scale - Transcontinental Pennsylvania Railroad - Members Personal Layouts. - Model Railway Layouts. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 05:20 pm
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eric220
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After many years of planning and dreaming, in April of 2010, ground (or plywood) was finally broken on what will eventually by a two-level N scale layout around the walls of a 32'x12' basement. The plan is based on my alternate history of the Pennsylvania Railroad, in which the PRR builds a transcontinental line across the US in the early 20th century, allowing it to survive to the modern era. Here's the current state of the plan:

Lower level:


Upper Level:


There is also a 9-track staging yard below the lower level.


The shortest track there is about 10' long.

Construction began with the most difficult engineering challenge, spanning an 80" wide window. Thanks to some ingenuity on the part of my Gandy Dancers, the section was built with no supports to either the ceiling or the floor.



From there, work has progressed around the upper level, and has now passed around the end of the peninsula.



That's where things stand right now. As a parting thought,



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Modeling a transcontinental PRR
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 Posted: Wed Feb 15th, 2012 10:05 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Now that as they say in the Classifieds, Eric - is a ball tearer!   :cool wink



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 Posted: Thu Feb 16th, 2012 03:56 am
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This is going to be one heck of a layout to follow Eric and I think most members will be watching every development as you move along.



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 Posted: Thu Feb 16th, 2012 10:42 am
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Will follow this thread with great interest, please keep the updates coming!

Thomas



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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 03:48 am
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Petermac
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Wow Eric.  Never mind breaking the plywood - if it were mine, I'd wonder about breaking the bank !!!

Looking at the shot across the window - the upper level seems a lot higher than the lower.  What sort of grade will you need to join the two ?

The roundhouse already looks amazing.  Can we see more of it please ?


On edit - maybe you're not going to actually join the two levels .................:hmm



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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 09:11 am
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eric220
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The two levels will be joined by a helix. I've worked it out to a steady 2% grade. My plan is to brace the helix from the inside and do little "mini scenes" across each level to break up the monotony of a long helix.

As for the roundhouse, that area represents Altoona, PA, which at its peak had three full-round roundhouses. I wanted to have a roundhouse that was big enough to convey the feeling that it was circular. This one is 27 stalls on 10 degree increments, so it's 3/4 round.



It was actually the very first thing that I built.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 11:47 am
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Robert
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Those kits you have in the USA are really something else Eric. I suppose they reflect the market though.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 01:35 pm
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Petermac
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I agree Bob.  I've been looking at them and they really do offer some excellent buildings.  Max's "town in a box" got me thinking about them.  And in fact, they don't seem too expensive but I suppose that's due to the market size in the States.

Thanks for the explanation about the helix Eric and also, for posting those superb shots of the roundhouse - it's quite something. :thumbs



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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 03:00 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Yes, it looks like it's similar to the roundhouse I got from Walthers.  It's certainly stunning.

John Dew et al., would have some RR&Co fun with that lot.  :lol:



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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 03:32 pm
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Wayne Williams
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Hello Eric and welcome to the forum! it's nice to see someone else from the States join us. Not very many of us here.

I am amazed the first thing you started with was a helix. not exactly a simple thing to build.

Pleas keep the update coming, very interesting!

Wayne



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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2012 11:48 pm
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eric220
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Max- That is, in fact, the Walthers modern roundhouse with 8 add-on kits.

Wayne- Glad to be here! Actually, I haven't built the helix yet. I started with Altoona as a stand-alone module several years ago, before I had the space for the big one. Once I had that space, I started with the lower staging yard. Next, we tackled the upper level. The upper level benchwork is now almost done. Once it is complete, I'll have to chose whether to build the helix or lower level next.



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Modeling a transcontinental PRR
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 Posted: Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 02:39 pm
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eric220
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Sorry for the slow updates, but I just started a new job, and work on the layout has slowed to a crawl. Prior to starting the new job, I got the Gandy Dancers over for a couple of work sessions. We extended the benchwork on the upper level all the way around to the helix, and the cookie-cutter followed, bringing the ROW to the outskirts of Idaho Springs.



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 Posted: Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 02:58 pm
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Robert
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This has certainly got the 'wow' factor Eric, especially for those in the UK who never seem to have that kind of room to play with and where basements are not common in newer properties.



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 Posted: Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 03:02 pm
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eric220
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Basements are not at all common in California either. We actually had ours installed just last year!



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 Posted: Tue Mar 20th, 2012 09:53 pm
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eric220
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Despite in-laws in our guest bedroom and trying to get oriented in a new job, I've managed to get a little work done. First off, I've played around some more in Filemaker. I've built an admin screen for waybills:



I need to develop a switch list interface so that yard operators can assign empties to the waybills. That among other things.

I also managed to get four more pieces of flextrack down, bringing the mains into Colorado.



While it may not look like much, it allowed me to do this:



Note that this train is running wrong-way. I've finally got enough track down that the Pennsylvania Limited can negotiate the crossover at Walnut Hill, meaning that I can run back-and-forth now. That shot should also answer the critics who said that I need to superelevate my curves.

With this newfound running potential, the first train to run through the upper staging yard under its own power has come and gone.



And the inspection train has run to the end of the line.



There were a few minor issues, but most were attributable to facing-point turnouts that are free-flaoting (as in not attached to switch motors or otherwise secured in one direction or the other). Regardless, it's nice to be able to run trains.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2012 03:25 am
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ddolfelin
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Keep the pics coming, Eric.
One to follow, thanks.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2012 03:35 am
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Petermac
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What a great feeling when the first train runs Eric. :thumbs

You seem to have a very long train there - is there just one motor ?

Also, do you think super-elevating curves makes any difference at the scales we work in ?  I wouldn't have thought there was enough mass in the stock to justify it (or maybe it's just for looks ........:roll:)



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 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2012 07:35 am
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Oh w-o-w!

Someone's got helix calculation fun coming up :thudI really like the mini-scenes idea on the helix runs - sure you're not going to change to a Swiss rail model? Bit latr for that I'm guessing...

I once had a two level plan with a helix at one end - I decided to 'simplify'...

That is one s-e-r-i-o-u-s roundhouse - I wonder if any like that existed for real?

As an avid N scale/gauge fan, I'll be watching this one!

M

 



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 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2012 11:29 pm
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eric220
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Petermac - Yup, just the one GG-1. I've got a total of three of them, and they are real stump-pullers! And yes, the superelevation is purely aesthetic.

mascotia - I've pretty well got the helix (actually nolix) worked out. It's going to be a 7-turn nolix on a steady 2% grade with 3" of rise per level. That should also make pretty clear why I want to do the mini-scenes. That's an awful long distance for the trains to just disappear. I'll probably also add in a small town somewhere to give the passenger trains another stop.

As for going Swiss, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.



:mrgreen: Actually, according to my alternate history, in 1933 the Pennsylvania brought in the SBB to assist in electrification of the continental divide crossing in Colorado. The Ce6/8 (or PRR FF-3) is an example of one of the locomotives designs that the PRR used in the early days of electrification.

On the note of the roundhouse, in real life, that's actually a moderate division point size at 27 stalls. In its heyday, the Altoona shops had three full-circle roundhouses, all bigger than the one I've modeled. I wanted to have enough of a roundhouse to convey the impression of a full circle.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 03:09 am
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You've got a fantastic model there Eric, it's the first time I've ever seen the whole of a "Transcontinental" line modeled in one room :thumbs:mutley



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