The Western Wisconsin RR

Milwaukee156 Oct 11, 2012

  1. Milwaukee156

    Milwaukee156 TrainBoard Member

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    Hi there -

    I thought I'd start sharing some photos of the progress (I hope) on my 29.5"X62" Western Wisconsin RR.

    I grew up watching Milwaukee Road (then Soo Line) trains at my grandparent's house in Sparta, WI (and loved every moment of it). I'm a big Milwaukee Road (and C&NW, and SOO, and Rock, and GB&W) fan - so I wanted a layout that would allow me to run those trains in a typical Midwestern, Wisconsinesque setting. I've been into N scale (with dabbling in HO, 027 and LGB) since 1986, Age 11.

    We have a big, dry basement, and given the amount of rolling stock I've collected I really should have a much bigger layout. But having moved often as a kid, and with this being our 4th house as a married couple (I'm 37) - I've learned that it's much easier to move small layouts, not to mention find time to work on them (I have other hobbies including railfanning etc.). Plus, small layouts bring back memories of my first N scale layout - a 2x4' sheet of wood on a car table with rolling stock fresh from Kay Bee! This layout is based on an old Andy Sperandeo plan from the 80s (HO Scale) - I like it - it allows for some switching action in the "town", with staging on the "river" side. Track is Atlas Code 80 with Peco turnouts. I know Code 80 is out of date, but I've tried Code 55, and I like the bulletproof nature of the track, as this layout WILL be moved, I'm sure. A small layout is also in keepping with a general "dejunking" focus my wife and I have had - get rid of anything and everything not used. Either sell it, or (mainly) give it away, including the last of the HO to the local Plymouth, WI railroad club.

    I hope to spend more time on this layout (it's about 2 years old, but probably 20 hrs of work in on it). Much to be done..but that's ok. I'll try to post updates. Got the riverbed sand/stone glued in place and ready for Mod Podge today, hope to work on ballast and trees (lots of trees) soon!

    Steve



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  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looks well done and interesting. Please do keep updates coming!

    As for moving, you can evolve to a larger size, using a modular construction concept.
     
  3. MVW

    MVW E-Mail Bounces

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    Nice-lookin' layout ... and an even nicer looking basement! You oughtta be buildin' The Big One! (It's always easy to tell someone else how to enjoy the hobby, isn't it?)

    Seriously, though, I applaud your commitment to portability. Some folks may like to start over on a layout every few years, but I'd prefer to make that decision myself instead of having it forced on me by a move.

    That's some beautiful area you grew up in around Sparta. I hiked a fair amount of the local rails-to-trails a few years ago. The tunnels were awesome! It was a hot, muggy summer day, and fog was rolling out of the tunnel. With the huge wooden doors, it looked like something out of Frankenstein's castle. I didn't have a flashlight with me, so I couldn't work up the nerve to try making it through the tunnel (you can't see one end from the other).

    Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your layout. Welcome aboard!

    Jim
     
  4. paperkite

    paperkite TrainBoard Member

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    Steve,
    Great start you have there and it looks rational and intresting. Jim brings up a point that in time the land baron may befall you and you will want to expand your empire so modular is something worth considering. I started my current layout on 16 inch x 6 feet piece of blue foam board in DC . I have the second section ready to go when I retire and convert my office ( I work at home ) to train room ( 82 days and a wake up to retirement ) so the foam works great for now as I get it out on friday nite to work on over the weekend and put it a way on sunday evening. And expanding it in sections for fit my 9 x 16 office ,gives me lots of space to imagineer it. So keep up the great work and never rule out anything when modeling a railroad ... especally in N scale . Yes and I see you have learned the golden rule ... pictures make it perfect !!!
     
  5. Milwaukee156

    Milwaukee156 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the kind comments, guys. Yes, I do have a big, empty basement with little or nothing in it (2300 sq ft). But before this house, we were in an apartment for 9 months while this house was constructed. At our last house, I built a 4'x10' layout that was made up of four modules. Moving it into storage was a breeze - but when we got it out of storage, it was FUNKY smelling. It's trackwork and scenery and concept were also questionable. So it went, and I started building this.

    I do have all the track diagrams, photos, etc to attempt to build "Sparta WI - 1979" as my next layout. Or perhaps the Milwaukee's line from Milwaukee to Green Bay whose remnant passes through Plymouth (where we live). Hard to imagine 100 car freights winding their way thru the hills and past Elkhart Lake, that would look great on a model. In the meantime, I'll continue work on this little guy - it doesn't even have trees or telephone poles yet! :)
     
  6. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Steve, nice work! Your layout is simple and manageable! Maybe because I'm a native New Englander and space was always a premium, but I love the small layouts. My current layout is 6X3 and has moved several times in the past few years. Avoid the temptation to start filling up that space with more track. I think some of the best looking and detailed layouts are the small ones, they keep you focused. Mine has changed a bit since this picture below was taken, and I still have a long way to go.

    I also applaud you for your nothing wasted mentality, dare I say philosophy? I too try to recycle everything and sometimes give things away rather than throw it away. I recently purchased a 1995 Jeep Cherokee for $400.00 and so far invested about $50.00 in parts in it. When the rust is too costly to fix, I'll part it out as the Cherokee owners are very loyal. I don't need a car payment and frankly IMNSHO, those old cars and trucks do better than more modern vehicles.

    Please keep us posted, I really like what you have here.

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  7. Milwaukee156

    Milwaukee156 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Jim - I like the look of your 3x6' as well (of course we're obviously biased, both having small layouts). I guess the lesson here for other folks is build SOMETHING, even if it's small or a module that can be expanded later. That's how John Allen started!

    As for cars, I hear you - this month I put new tires on my Corolla, used a kit to de-fog a headlight lens, and will be having some rust repaired. Determined that my 05' will go at least 150,000!

    Look forward to more on your layout and seeing the McGinnis Blue rolling thru the woods. Will there be a tunnel? I'll bet there will be. I considered building Lou Sassi's 4x8' HO B&M project railroad, but I have way too much Midwestern rolling stock.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2012
  8. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Steve, Thanks for your comments and its ok to be biased on small layouts. Do a search and you will see a build thread on this layout, Modeling the Boston & Maine in 1970's New Hampshire. I'm modeling the town of Potter Place NH as it was in 1976. No tunnels, but a few rock cuts will be in there as well as two highway over passes. Please consider doing a project thread on your layout, we all love reading them and following along.

    having owned a Toyota (the only other brand I can't destroy) I can tell you that you can get well over 200K. The Wrangler I have has only 130K and the Cherokee has 220K. One of my fellow modelers has a 99 with 300K. Its all about maintenance and care, something a lot of people don't want to do anymore.
     
  9. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

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    Just a thought...............after doing this for near 20 years, and building about half a dozen layouts in all sizes.........I have come to the conclusion that while the "whole basement kingdoms" are fun to dream about, they are not very realistic to build or operate, except for a fortunate few. At least, that's the way it always worked out for me.......it's usually "Me" working on the layout, and it's usually "Me" running the layout, so it ends up being daunting, and near impossible to build that "empire" in your head.
    It's much more realistic to build a small layout that is well done and has detailed scenery,(even 12' x 12' room sized), than to try the huge one and give up.

    A friend said something that makes a lot of sense - "Do you want the layout working for you, or do you want to be working for it??"
     
  10. bumthum

    bumthum TrainBoard Member

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    Your layout is looking great. There are some nice opportunities for switching and space for possible track expansion into your town (perhaps a team track). I too am partial to small layouts, my first was 36"X26", then I built a couple micro layouts and I am currently working on another small layout (all based around B&M). Here is my current work in progress: http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/showthread.php?143881-Small-Boston-and-Maine-Layout

    Just a thought, but you could set up one of Randy's CF-7s and paint it up as an industrial switcher for your grain elevator. That would actually allow you to run two roads on a small layout. You could use your mainline motive power for run through trains and handle switching etc. with the CF-7. We have a lot of grain elevators around here with their own switchers.
     
  11. Milwaukee156

    Milwaukee156 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for all the nice comments, guys. You have me motivated to do more railroading-wise than watch my Green Frog Emery Gulash DVDs (which equals 10 minutes of trying to watch the beautiful classic footage followed by a nap!).

    This weekend I've added water to my river, installed telephone poles, soldered some feeders, fixed a GP38-2 AND painted the track in prep for ballasting!

    I like the switcher idea but need to go smaller than a CF7 - I do have a nice Bachmann red 44 tonner that would do the trick! :)
     

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