Layout Progress – Track Plan and Ties

I was able to start laying track for my industrial layout.  I’ve put down all of the ties on half of the layout, and most of the ties on the other half.   The track plan is the result of many hours examining topographic maps and aerial photos of the International Paper plant that once existed on Tonawanda Island NY.  A paper plant is a pretty difficult thing to try to squeeze onto a 12-foot long shelf, but I’ve moved ahead with my plan.  If it doesn’t work out, I’ll take a chainsaw to it and burn it on a camping trip.

In the photo below, you’ll see I’ve built an a siding for a building flat to represent the warehouse-end of the mill.  The lead will hold about 4 50′ boxcars, but I might designate two spots for loading and two for empty cars ready to be moved to the loading spots.

IMG_0217The track next to the shipping track will be a storage track, and it holds about 4 50′ boxcars as well.  I anticipate using that track to get cars out of the way for switching moves, and for short-term storage of empties ready to be spotted for loading.  Alternatively, I could run this area like a mini-freight shed, with loading going through the cars on the track nearest the building into the cars on the far side.   The aerial photos show that there might have been such an arrangement at the mill.

The next track out from the backdrop is the “main” into the plant.  The tail track from the runaround siding is in the foreground.  The runaround will easily hold five 50′ boxcars and a caboose.  Penn Central assigned a crew to switch the plant and some other industries in North Tonawanda, and they typically rated an Alco S2 and a caboose.

The track closest to the edge of the benchwork is for unloading coal destined for the power house. This track also runs off the edge of the layout, suggesting that it leads to the actual storage pile and unloading equipment.  The lead will be able to hold three 50′ cars, but will likely only see two hoppers spotted there at a time.  The plant consumed around 150 tons of coal per day, but they had a huge stockpile on the south side of the plant. I’ll model the edge of the pile next to this lead.

Off in the distance, at the far end of the layout, the leads for woodchips and tank car unloading will come off the runaround track on the left.  Those leads will disappear into staging in the midst of some buildings and the digester tanks.  Those will probably accomodate three tank cars and four or five woodchip cars. The “main” snakes its way around the white cardboard box, which is coincidentally positioned approximately where the paper machine building will be located.  That building will have spots for boxcars of inbound stuff.   And that’s everything I’m able to fit.

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8 Comments

  1. Great progress. It must feel pretty exciting to see the ties in place and to be anticipating those first lengths of rail. I’m looking forward to more updates. I think this has some really great potential for a layout.

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    1. Thanks Chris. Yes, it is quite satisfying to finally start putting ties on the roadbed. As I lay down new strips of ties, I double check my track “plan” to make sure the operations I envision can actually happen.

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  2. That looks awesome, Hunter. It won’t be too long before you’re running trains. I look forward to following the progress.
    Cheers!

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  3. Nice job Hunter. I stane my own ties as well and thouse look great. I think hand layed track is the way to go as far as looks are concerned. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks Scott and Colin. Once I hand laid my own track (way back in the day), I preferred it to commercial track. I just finished laying in some more ties this evening. I’m real close to having all of the ties down.

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