N scale CB&Q layout in Model Railroader

friscobob Nov 29, 2014

  1. dexterdog62

    dexterdog62 TrainBoard Member

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    While the Red Oak is a nice looking N scale layout, I feel that the whoever designed the track plan (I believe it was David Popp) tried a bit too hard to incorporate an element into it which seems somewhat forced with regards to actually operating the layout.
    The branch line which disappears behind the backdrop is virtually useless to serve its intended purpose. Considering that this layout is set in the 60's and car lengths are shorter, the interchange track can accommodate a loco, two 40 foot cars and a caboose at best. The Red Oak article in the January 2015 MR has a photo of a 10 car train emerging from the branch line, a depiction which cannot be actually replicated on the layout as designed unless it's just for photographic purposes.
    I think they tried too hard to include something new with this layout. If it was me building the Red Oak, I would still keep the back drop down the middle but use the staging area to add another scene and build a removable staging section as they did with the Virginian project layout...
     
  2. Pacodutaco

    Pacodutaco TrainBoard Member

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    I recently got my copy and I had the same thoughts. I love the railroad and the time frame but the staging area just doesn't fit in such a small space. I too think it would be better if it was used as a different scene and possibly do away with the staging altogether. After all this is just a HCD so space is at a premium.
     
  3. dexterdog62

    dexterdog62 TrainBoard Member

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    I think it's always best to keep things simple. Trying to squeeze in that Tony Koester-inspired interchange track on a 3 x 7 foot layout is probably more of an attempt at heading off negative opinions from those would go and say "oh look, another roundy-round layout, ho-hum." For a first time layout you don't need to go beyond the simple oval to get your feet wet. Make the track plan expandable and allow for some more advanced design concepts at a later time, instead of wasting a good portion of that precious 21 square feet of layout space on what amounts to insufficient staging anyway.
     
  4. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

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    Staging track aside, I feel the staging at the back end is as good as it gets for an HCD layout. Really, how many folks are going to be running trains long enough to chase their caboose, which is just a few carlengths ahead of them, unless they do it for grins & giggles. On the N scale Pennsy layout (also HCD), the owner made provisions for staging, and even built a staging yard on another HCD.

    In the 60s, and especially in Iowa, it wasn't uncommon to see a locomotive, a few cars, and a caboose head down a branch line at the breathtaking speed of 10 MPH over bad track off of a main line, so a 2-car train would not be beyond the realm of impossibility. Or, since the track is needed to switch the feed mill & cattle pen, keep it intact and don't run it too far beyond the backdrop.

    Yet another option is branching off a track at the lower right (a la the Carolina Central) to represent staging, or perhaps another branch. And later on, put a removable module to hold a short train that would run on the layout, swap cars, and run off.

    Keep in mind this is a good "get your feet wet and run trains until more space becomes available" layout, and is good enough to whet your appetite to model long freights with 4-unit lashups of Fs rolling fast freight, or even longer Zephyrs racing down the mainline.
     
  5. hawk

    hawk TrainBoard Member

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    hi I am always struggling to come up with a track plan and era. this plan looks good in most ways. if I was to consider building similar what would you all suggest needs changing?
     
  6. Pacodutaco

    Pacodutaco TrainBoard Member

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    The only thing I find fault with is the hidden staging. I think it takes up to much space on a small layout. I would use that space for a separate scene divided by a mountain or something along those lines. It would make it more interesting and allow you to model more in the space you have.
     

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