Thunder Ridge: A Freelanced Focus on Scenery

Mark Watson Apr 12, 2010

  1. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I got you started on this, so I'll step in.

    There's a lot of examples out there, but a good one is at Corry, PA. This is a crossing of the Erie-to-Williamsport PRR line (today A&E) with the Erie/EL (today WNYP) NY-Chicago main line. Get your Google Earth on, it's pretty clear.

    PRR comes into town from the southeast and heads northwest.

    EL came into town from the northeast and headed southwest, kinda.

    So at Corry there was and is a diamond, it was 2 EL over 1 PRR, now it is 1 on 1, but after the diamond the two railroads ran only 100' apart through Corry, sharing a station, freight station, elevated gate crossing towers, etc. Today you can see the 'crossover' between the two just west of the second crossing - that's the interchange.

    These two ran side by side like this for more or less 12 miles to Union City. Even today there has been active discussion of abandoning one of the two lines for reduction of duplicate lines.

    I don't know when I've seen two parallel competitors share so many buildings through a downtown corridor with everything in the middle:
    http://www.prrerie.com/corry.shtml

    But thats a solid example of putting everything in the middle and putting a crossover between.

    And for trivia buffs, the surviving building on the "S" road curve, south of both tracks and a little west of center, is the main erecting building for the Climax Locomotive Works. Still there.

    Now...the river canyon... two railroads....spectacular. Let me think....

    Well, CN and CP fight it out like that in the Frasier River canyon, pretty spectacular:

    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=283812&nseq=31

    In the east, Lehigh Valley, CNJ, and L&NE all fought it out in the Lehigh River Valley, quite the gorge:

    http://historical.mytopo.com/getImage.asp?fname=mauc24sw.jpg&state=PA

    http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~carrleith/images/aquahicola.jpg

    It's gone today, but the Letchworth State Park had the PRR and the Erie crossing each other beside a waterfall, no less. The high bridge is still there, the PRR Rochester line up on one side is a memory:
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=251519&nseq=4

    Despite the vegetation you can just see the bench up on the LH side were the PRR was, it ran parallel to the river, rather high up.
    http://www.letchworthparkhistory.com/lpa93.html

    Check out the topo map, river gorge, two bridges....hmm. http://historical.mytopo.com/getImage.asp?fname=ptag05se.jpg&state=NY


    You're in good company.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2010
  2. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I love all that reference you've shared Randy! You've given me lots more to consider. Though I'd like to stay away from adding a diamond to the layout, I do like the idea of having a building or some type of scene split the tracks. Most often, I just start up a train and let it run, so with the plan for two trains in opposite directions, the diamond would pose a crash threat when I'm not paying full attention. Though, perhaps some type of double crossover, where the diamond could be bypassed under normal operation... hmm... much to consider. :D

    Also, I love the arched bridge in that first reference photo you shared!
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=283812&nseq=31

    Originally I hoped to take on the challenge of building a trestle, but the way those two bridges compliment each other is very pleasing. Since the arched bridge does not obstruct the view as much as the covered bridge, I would likely place it on Thunder Pass, then move the covered girder to Thunder Ridge further back.

    Originally, with the trestle on Thunder Ridge, I had one of the bridges from the Durango and Silverton picked as inspiration for the river crossing on Thunder Pass.
    http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=315227&nseq=9

    Since I like the two bridges Randy shared better, I think I'll scrap the D&S bridge idea and instead of taking on the challenge of building a trestle for the Thunder Ridge line, I'll attempt to build the timber support wall as seen along the D&S High Line below.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    There you go. Hey, the diamond thing is completely optional, I just wanted you to see a situation where two main-line railroads shared one set of service buildings on parallel tracks with a simple crossover between for interchange in a relatively small footprint and town. Does exist.

    I'll have to check my own collection, but what I think you may be looking at on the DSNG is a whole lot of rail driven in and used as steel support on that original wall. I think I may have some photos from the train, looking straight down, at that exact spot. I was reasonably intimidated by that situation!
     
  4. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Here's a design I just came up with after about 45 minutes of playing around with the interchange idea.

    I ended up more with an interchange an off layout RR than one between the two lines of the river valley. I figure this will work just as well as we'll just say that in the river valley, they're two lines, but on the urban setting, they're the same RR interchanging with the RR that comes in from the top and left.

    This definitely does not feel like a final plan, but I like the direction its heading. I just need a compass for this one, because I'm not quite sure which direction that is myself. :p

    I did add 4 inches to the width, and to save on corners sticking out further, I rounded them off. Otherwise... here it is, comments, criticism, suggestions appreciated. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark,

    The main item which jumps out at me is the two interchange tracks leading off the layout are both exiting on the curves of the base. This will make it difficult, if not impossible, to ever align another layout up for connection (if you so desire).

    The other item which "bothers me", aesthetically, is the very straight lead going across your industries. I think it is because everything else on the layout has natural curves, or is "yard/interchange". Not sure what you can or should do about it, and maybe scenery is the answer here, and not layout. But, the design works, and that says something, too.
     
  6. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well I'm back in the planning of Thunder Ridge. I took some time away from the design phase so that I now have a clear mind to review what I've done so far.

    YUCK! That last plan I made is ugly! :p I agree with you Rick, those elements are not aesthetically pleasing at all!

    Back to the drawing boards here. I think I'm going to scrap the interchange tracks and go back to version 3 for the starting point of the next version.

    Also, I plan on picking up the foam core art boards to begin construction either this weekend or next weekend. I'm going to use the same technique for subroadbed as I used on my current layout, but with the steep cliffs on Thunder Valley and the difficulty of getting extruded foam with out a vehicle I may use paper mache or a similar technique for the terrain.
     
  7. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Argh, I keep pushing the limits of my space. :p

    Here's version 8, scaled up to a 4x8 table with the corners beveled. The requirement I justified this with is that I will put casters on my podium for easy moving. My apartment is laid out that I have a 14'4" wall. 3 feet along the top is my entrance door way (the physical door having been removed which is the sub-table bed my foam boards lay on), and the 3 feet along the bottom is the door to my closet. With the casters I'll be able to roll the layout in front of the closet for storage and away easily for access. The beveled corners give me more room around the top end when entering and exiting my room.

    I made some changes to Thunder Valley which allowed more broad curves around to the urban side. I expect I'll still play around with how the two mainlines cross over, but for now I'm pretty satisfied. With my preference being about 93% round running, really any crossover will simply do the job. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Mark:
    When taking pics of TBX 3401, I discovered that I needed to have:
    1. 6 to 10 inches of sceniced layout space between the track the train was on and the fascia at the edge of my layout (so the fascia didn't show in pictures). [Your idea of extending the scenery down the front of the fascia is a good way to deal with this, too.] OR
    2. shoot pictures from scale railfan height and VERY close to the track (instead of from bird's eye level) so the train could be positioned in the middle of the picture instead of at the bottom of the frame so the unsceniced fascia didn't show OR
    3. support temporary scenery between the fascia and the camera.

    I only had one area where I could look down the length of the shelf and not see non-sceniced layout or non-layout features in the distance, like doors/windows, bookcases, etc. Putting up a temporary backdrop to hide non-layout features would have worked, if I wanted to take bird's eye elevation pics, but not for scale railfan height pics (because, too often, the top edge of the backdrop would be visible in the distance).

    If you have L-girder benchwork, the fascia (decorated/sceniced or plain) could be attacked to 1x2 stringers that rest on the L-girders but are left unsecured to the L-girder so they can slide out 6 to 10 inches to give you support for temporary scenery to drop in place between track and the camera. If you wanted, you could probably have several different scenes on separate drop-in panels of Homasote or foam.

    How long was Thunder Ridge? Were there a number of signature features along the ROW that could be built on a 12 to 18 inch wide drop-in module that could be set behind the tracks or in front of the tracks for a photo opportunity?
     
  9. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I like the scenic canyon part of the layout a lot.

    The town scene seems like it is limited somehow. I dunno it seems like you could do less and more with it along the lines of your scenic side. I really like your minimalist approach to this.

    I have often said a good layout can be built with only 5 turnouts.
     
  10. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well the old layout is disassembled and ready for its new home.

    [​IMG]
    (Shoes included on purpose for size reference)

    With the old layout gone, I now have the room to begin construction on Thunder Ridge!! :D

    However until that can begin (probably not until next weekend), I'm only left with this to satisfy my modeling appetite. :p
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    How about this? I removed the spur on the left side and filled it in with the town scene which will continue back into the backdrop. The blue dot is where Mr. Delphos' blue pick up will be behind his Grocery store. I imagine a gravel parking lot with a wooden privacy fence and overgrown weeds along the bottom. :)

    The green dot might become a small park. Maybe a swing set and a slide with some big trees. The red dot is open for suggestion. Definitely has to be something unique, but not too distracting from the town image.

    Thoughts? :)

    [​IMG]
     
  12. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

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    "Red dot".........a small village of "tornado magnets", maybe?? ( as we on the plains call 'em).
     
  13. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Not sure I understand what you're talking about... :confused:


    Well member johnh, just stopped by and picked up the old layout, vacating the space for Thunder Ridge!! And then we ran into an..er.. interesting individual on the street while loading the layout. Lets just say John walked away with a new layout AND an old G.I. Joe doll!! Hahahahaha!! What a day. :p
     
  14. Phil Olmsted

    Phil Olmsted TrainBoard Member

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    I'm guessing nscalerone means a trailer park (or mobile homes, depending on your era) :pbiggrin:
     
  15. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Aw, well in that case I'll have to pass. Those mobile homes are cool little models, but they dont really appeal to what I have in mind for this layout.

    Now I'm thinking something that I can motorize and animate. Hmmmm.
     
  16. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    how about a small carnival with amusement rides? Ferris wheel or merry go round, a small arcade with flashing lights
     
  17. collie-2

    collie-2 TrainBoard Member

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    What about a busstation? Faller carsystem and you can animate it.:tb-biggrin:

    Think the design is getting much better.
    When a train is going from the outside oval to the inside, how is it going back?
    Personally I would also change the long road in front.

    Have fun.
    Ron.
     
  18. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

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    Nice interesting layout Mark. Simple yet like setting up your own railfanning layout. SHould be interesting. a couple of the suggestions might add a bit more drama to an already fun scene.
     
  19. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

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    Oops......my mistake. I forget that not everyone is from "tornado alley". Yes.........I did mean mobile homes.
     
  20. MRL

    MRL TrainBoard Member

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    Tornado Siren!!!
    This just gave me an idea for my small town usa...
     

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