New Layout: The CSX Dixie Line

CSXDixieLine Jul 28, 2008

  1. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Hi everyone! Although I have made a few posts already, I have not yet formally introduced myself. My name is Jamie and I live in the Lilburn, GA, just northeast of Atlanta. I consider myself to be a lfelong N-scaler even though I had the old reliable 8x4 HO layout as a kid back in the 1970s. I found this website just recently thanks to a link from another member's blog where he is documenting his layout construction. I can't believe I have not found TrainBoard.com before now but boy am I happy to be here! I find this to be just about the best forum for n-scalers I have encountered. Looking forward to participating and contributing in any way possible going forward!

    Over the years I have only had a few tabletop N layouts that I have tinkered with every now and then. This past week however, I started construction of my 18'x9' 3-level layout named The CSX Dixie Line. It is a proto-freelanced version of the CSX route from Atlanta to Nashville through Chattanooga. I have a complete "white paper" history of the route posted on my blog which can be accessed via the link in my signature section at the bottom of this post. I have also posted a few pictures here of the initial benchwork construction that began last week. I also plan to post some running updates in this thread as I make more progress (please let me know if this is not an appropriate place to do so).

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the pics and thanks for looking!

    Jamie

    ________________________

    Construction begins! First wall bracket installed:

    [​IMG]

    A couple of views of the completed wall with all the brackets in place:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next on the agenda will be to install brackets on the blank wall down at the end of the room behind the test layout table:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice looking start there Jamie. :) :) :)
     
  3. oldrk

    oldrk TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looking good to me. Keep us posted.
     
  4. MammyJammy

    MammyJammy New Member

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    Looks good so far!

    As I'm currently planning a larger layout, I was also thinking of going with three levels. I was curious what heights you've put each deck at and the spacing between decks?​
     
  5. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    MammyJammy, The heights of my three levels are 42", 57" and 69" from the floor to the tops of the joists. The lower two levels are on the visible and scenicked section of the layout, while the upper level is not visible (because of the height) and will be used for staging. I have an article that decribes the strategy I used to determine the heights (and depths) of my layout posted on my website. Jamie
     
  6. NikkiB

    NikkiB TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome to Trainboard! We're happy to have you.
     
  7. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Did some more work tonight on the benchwork. First, I completed the short wall at the south end of the room by mounting the wall brackets that were assembled over the weekend. This view is looking towards the south wall (I am standing where the helix will be at the end of the peninsula running down the middle of the room):

    [​IMG]

    Next, I mounted the first wall bracket on the north wall and thought I was finished for the night. Then I realized that with that bracket in place, I would not be able to attach the front boards to the already completed wall brackets on the east wall. I removed this bracket, one thing led to another and I ended up doing some front boards plus some of the benchwork for the upper two levels across the doorway on the east wall:

    [​IMG]

    With all of that out of the way, I finally was able to reinstall the first bracket on the short wall at the north end of the room (the benchwork dips down along this wall because this is where the CSX crosses the Etowah River valley near Cartersville, GA):

    [​IMG]

    Overall view looking towards the doorway (the lower level will have a drop-down section across the doorway):

    [​IMG]

    When I finished this evening, I sat down on the floor and just looked around, not believeing I was able to get this much done in just about 4 to 5 half days of work. We purchased this house 13 years ago--why did I wait so long to do this?!? Oh well, lots of fun so far and lots more to come--world's greatest hobby indeed!

    Jamie
     
  8. Tbone

    Tbone Permanently dispatched

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    Wow nice looking start Jamie.What line and era are you modeling?
     
  9. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Do you have a track plan we can see? It looks like each level is--well--level, so are you going to use a helix? Your construction will certainly be sturdy enough!
     
  10. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Pete, Yes I do have a track plan, although it is just the benchwork outline and the track mainline at this point. It can be found on my blog by clicking here. Once I get all of the wall brackets assembled, I figure I'll have had my fill of benchwork for a while and it will be a good time to get back to enhancing the track plan with towns, sidings, industries and other features. As you can see from the plan, there will be a two track helix to connect all three levels, although for starters I am just building the lower level and the helix will probably just be a return loop until construction moves "upward."

    Thanks TBone! This is the modern (today) CSX W&A Sub from Atlanta to Chattanooga and the CSX Chattanooga Sub from Chattanooga to Nashville. Rather than trying to condense the entire lines into something meaningful, I will be modeling a specific section of the W&A Sub on the lower level and a specific section of the Chattanooga Sub on the upper level. All this woodworking has apparently cleared the logjam in my mind regarding track planning because I have some really good ideas bouncing around in my head this week--look for significant changes to my track plan in the next 7-10 days.

    Jamie
     
  11. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Jamie, Looks like you got a good start! We have almost the same size rooms for our layouts =) Mine looked like yours about a year ago. One thing that I love about your plan is that you have both the levels going in the same direction. The compass is the same no matter what level you're on. Very nice!

    -Mike
     
  12. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    Mike, I have been referencing your Owens Valley Sub website extensively over the last few weeks. Since we have similar benchwork design, it is very helpful to get a glimpse of what the finished result should look like on a layout much farther along than mine. By the way, you also have me seriously considering handlaid turnouts now! Looking forward to watching your layout come together--I have the California DeLorme atlases and have always wondered what those "abandoned railroad" dotted lines were going up and down the eastern edge of the state. Now I know what they were and what the could have been! Jamie
     
  13. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Jamie, thanks for the kind words! =) Hand laying your own turnouts is pretty easy, but time consuming! But I do recommend it if you want to take the extra time. For me, it's very enjoyable. Although I'm sure I would have had the main line done by now if I were using commercial turnouts. Oh well, it'll get done soon enough.
    I'm also in the same boat as you; one long stretch of my upper level will be following a twisty stream in a canyon, but my benchwork is only 12" wide. So I'm not sure how I'll go about doing it. Guess I'll wait to see what you'll do ;) With the rate you're going, you'll have me passed in no time!

    -Mike
     
  14. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    CSX Dixie Line Progress Report

    Completed brackets along the north wall of the layout room. This wall is a bit different from the previously completed ones because the sehlves are deeeper (17") and the lower level (usually 42") has been lowered to 39" to accomodate a river scene:

    [​IMG]

    As previously mentioned, the lower level on this wall will feature a scene where the CSX crosses the Etowah River at Cartersville, GA. Just for fun and to break up all of this bracketology:

    [​IMG]

    Sometime in the (hopefully!) near future, I plan to have this scene looking a little bit more like this (photo by Patrick Phelan on RailPictures.net, used with permission of the owner):

    [​IMG]

    Jamie
     
  15. Tbone

    Tbone Permanently dispatched

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    Still looking fantastic Jamie.I love the deck of card piers.
     
  16. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    CSX Dixie Line: Construction Update

    On Saturday, I began installing brackets on the west (and final) wall of the layout room. The entire 18' length of this wall will be 17" deep to allow for more scenery such as towns, industries and yards on all three levels:

    [​IMG]

    Finally, a wider view looking towards the north end of the layout room:

    [​IMG]

    This will be the last bracket update (woooo-hooooo!) since by the next update I should have started building the peninsula benchwork. Jamie
     
  17. Tbone

    Tbone Permanently dispatched

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    Jamie looking good.almost time for plywood and foam.
     
  18. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Jamie, have you thought about how you are going to set up the center peninsula? Are you going to have the supports go all the way to the ceiling or just to the staging level? Looks good so far =)

    -Mike
     
  19. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

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    I will probably do something similar to this:

    http://www.shendiv.com/construction/20020315.html

    That is a construction page from Bruce Faulkner's CSXT Shenandoah Division layout website. Since that layout has a very similar shape to what I am doing and it has been successfully operating for 6+ years now, I have tried to adapt their construction techniques to my benchwork where possible. The primary differnce with my setup is that I have three levels to contend with, since my staging is going on top. Of course, I have been examining your construction as well to see how certain elements should join together. Jamie
     
  20. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

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    Jamie, On my previous double decked layout, I tried to do what Bruce did, but for me it just wasn't that sturdy, even after all the supports were in and the subroadbed was put down. Anytime I bumped into it, it really moved alot. So I'm not sure what he did, but I ended up making it go all the way to the ceiling and that corrected it. I really doubt you'll have a problem with it thou, since the helix at the end of your peninsula will keep things sturdy; that is if you go with 4 legs and a "tabletop" style. Speaking from my experience, I wouldn't do anything less. =)

    -Mike
     

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