"KC Lines: West Bottoms" in HO Scale

Discussion in 'General' started by Coonskin, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi All.

    The switch to HO is underway in earnest.

    Here's a brief rundown of my "KC Lines: West Bottoms" theme:

    * Circa: early 1960s

    * Locale: West Bottoms in Kansas City,

    * Theme: My interpretation of various West Bottoms elements. Basic theme will consist of yard switching, urban industrial switching, transfer trains to/from a live stage, and some "eye candy" through trains when the mood moves me. I am making provisions for a "rotational" concept to allow the "primary (host) railroad to be rotated as I see fit. (This session the primary/host line is the Frisco, and the other KC lines will be seen in the Transfers/Throughs, next session the primary/host line could be the KCT, and the other KC lines will be seen on the "Transfer/Through" trains, etc.) Most KC lines will be represented via "Transfer Trains" and may possibly be seen on "Through trains". To cater to this "rotational" concept, the railroad related structures will be somewhat generic and not railroad-specific.

    * Equipment: I anticipate only 4 axle freight power to be seen, and those only on the mainline loops. Switchers will predominate elsewhere. However, I have NOT ruled out an "eye candy" passenger train or two! Freight rolling stock will be 95% 40' cars, some shorter. The remaining 5% will be 50'.

    * Mainline radii: Outside loop: 24". Inside loop: 22". Mainline switches: #6. Yard/industry tracks: #4.

    As of tonight I have a "Ver. 1" track plan. I expect many revisions and refinements as I study it off/on over the coming days/weeks/months. The stats:

    * Switches:

    4R -21
    4L – 19
    6R - 7
    6L - 9
    Total: 56

    * Approximate number of industrial spots: 72

    * Yard capacities:

    12[SUP]th[/SUP] St. Yard: 69 (This is the on-stage "main" yard.)
    Transfer Yard: 22 (This is a "live" stage yard that will have scenery/etc.)

    Here's what's purchased or already on hand two weeks into the decision:

    * RTR Frisco VO1000. Hope to be sending it off for DCC/Tsunami sound installation soon.

    * RTR Frisco SW7 w/DCC and QSI sound. (Paid $99 new in box.)

    * RTR CGW DS4-4-1000 w/DCC and Tsunami sound.

    * Two MDC 36' steel under frame "Swift" meat reefers to go to the cold storage/distribution warehouse.

    * Code 83 switches from Peco and Atlas for evaluation.

    Probably going to purchase enough Atlas code 83 flex track to almost do the layout within the next few days. However, I'm debating taking a look at Peco's code 83 flex track first.

    In addition to the above I will be able to reuse the following still on hand from the previous HO years:

    * RTR CB&Q SW7 w/DCC and QSI sound.

    * Undec NW2 w/DCC and QSI Sound. (Will paint it "someday"... just not now.)

    * 8 KC&G engines.

    * 20-something pieces of rolling stock leftover from my previous HO days.

    * Several Stewart/Kato F units and several Life Like P2K engines. However, these are all undecorated... so will be way down the list of priorities.

    The short term plan is to continue purchasing the things I'll need as I finalize my track plan, continue the process of selling off stuff, (S and other stuff), strip the current bench work of S scale track, and redo the backdrop Masonite and the corners. Once the layout is ready to receive track again, I hope to have enough stuff on hand to start in earnest.

    My long term goal is to be up and functional in two years. Not "finished", but functional, and therefore can enjoy some personal operation as well as having a friend over to operate with me. It's been WAY too long since I've had a FUNCTIONING layout. Instead I kept spending valuable time trying to squeeze trains that were too big (Sn3, O, and S) into this small space I have to work with, and not being satisfied with the result being seen on the layout.

    So, that's it for now! I'll bet all of the above is more than you wanted to know!
  2. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Welcome to HO my friend. When are you heading to KC? We can fire up the Northern Division for an op session. Era conversion is underway. Heading to the late 70s to run those cool U30Beeez !!!!
  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Thanks Rickster. It's good to be back in the "land of plenty" (HO) compared to the "flower in the desert" nature of S scale. (i.e. A great scale... but not near enough variety and availability.) Besides, like I said above, I kept trying to cram trains that were too big into this room that is too small.

    Getting to KC would be great... it's a matter of available time vs domestic tranquility. The last relatives on my mother's side (two sisters) live in KC and the KC area. My older sister and I have talked about a trip up to see them within the next year or so. Maybe when we do I can sneak off for an evening and go play trains at your house... or at least view your layout? So many things I want to do, so little time.

    FWIW: Decided to go with Peco Electrofrog switches and Peco flex track. Main reason: Availability. Atlas is still in short supply.

    Speaking of which: I have two pair of Atlas code 83 #6 "Super Track" switches that are surplus. Three of them are still in the bubble pack, one is opened, all are new. Anybody wanna' good deal? How 'bout $60 for all of them + 5 bucks shipping? If interested either PM me or email me at: laming at cebridge dot net
  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Well... I did the deed. Ordered two 25 piece bundles of code 83 Peco flex track and some #5 switches. This stuff will be stockpiled until I get the layout ready to receive track again. Havin' lots'a fun!
  5. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Good news! Do you have a trackplan yet, or are you still in the designing stage?

    Good to hear someone else is working on a switching-type Frisco-themed layout. I'm still building my Paris, TX-based line, and am now beefing up the motive power fleet (heavy on the GP7s, with a smattering of GP15-1s).
  6. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Bob:

    I have a "Version 1" plan, but it is still just a lightly sketched pencil 1.5" = 1' scale drawing at this point. I don't use track planning software, I still use templates and pencils ala' John Armstrong!

    Bear in mind: Even though the Frisco is my favorite, the layout itself will represent KC... so most KC roads will be represented in through/transfer trains and a particular road CAN be swapped out with the Frisco as the "host" railroad for ?? long as the Frisco moves to "through/transfer" status. :D (For example: If I ever get some KCT power ready to go, I'm confident the KCT will displace the Frisco every now and then as the "host" railroad. :) )

    I like waaaay too many other lines and their stuff to stay with just one railroad. (For example: I really like some of the Missouri Pacific 1st generation power, Santa Fe, Katy, CB&Q... to name a few! :) ) That's why this "KC Lines" theme.
  7. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I know what you mean- I have some MP and Santa Fe power, plus an SP GP9 in my collection. I also have a few UP diesels, including an RSC3 (at one time, I had the "wild-hair idea" to model the UP's Encampment Branch in southern Wyoming). And somewhere, I have a TO&E GP40 and an SCL U33B, plus at least one Kiamichi RR unit. If you ever get the chance, one railroad you need to visit is Jim Senese's Kansas City Terminal- it features the Frisco, MP, KCS and MKT, and is a fun railroad to operate. I've had the privilege twice to run on this railroad, which is located in Claremore, and I can attest to Jim's modeling skills.

    After fussing & fighting with AnyRail, I feel like "going retro" and returning to graph paper & some sharp number 4 pencils for my next track plan myself.
  8. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Some more drivel n' goodies....

    First, the drivel: I've made a minor "tweak" to my target era. Instead of saying I'm modeling specific dates, I'm just going to say I'm portraying memories and elements from the "Early 1960s". This allows a wee bit of leeway for some minor anachronisms without overly compromising my target era.


    Several smaller items have been purchased, but the purchase that has me really excited is the NIB Undec Kato RS2. You KNOW what THAT'S destined to become, don't you? Yup... it's going to become either 550 or 552 which were still pure-Alco well into the 1960s! Gotta' love those old Alco's! Hope Keith "klrwhizkid" isn't going to be retiring from the DCC/sound installation business anytime soon. :D
  9. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Andre, that sounds like a very good plan to me. While I picked 1943 for a modeling era, partly because I figured "I have to draw the line somewhere," I think that a little wiggle room can be had without totally destroying the plausibility of one's layout.

    I can see Keith (klrwhizkid) not only doing DCC installation but also dispatching simultaneously while you operate on Rick's Northern Div.

    Best Regards,
  10. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Eureka! Received an email notification from one of the online dealers I've done business with informing me that Atlas is beginning to ship the newly tooled Alco S-2!

    I just ordered two undec w/vertical shutters and DCC/Sound destined to become KCT engines!

    Also: As of several weeks ago, I now have enough Peco switches on hand to do Phase 1.

    HO things are amassing nicely and soon I'll get the "round tuit" I'm waiting on that's needed so I can redo my basic backdrop. (I want to replace some of the Masonite, repaint all of it.) Once the backdrop is redone, I can start laying track when the mood hits!

    Forward HO!
  11. DanHyde

    DanHyde Member

    Did I just hear Ward Bond??!!
  12. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Ward Bond?
  13. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    OMG - you must be young not to have grown up with Ward Bond movies.
  14. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Wow... I knew I liked hanging out around here. At 62 years of age, very few places refer to me as "young"!!
  15. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    You be younger than me!:)
  16. DanHyde

    DanHyde Member

    Upon further review, Ward Bond said, " Wagons, Ho". My bad! And at 61, I did watch Wagon Train!!
  17. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Oh... WAGON TRAIN! Yup... saw it.

    Didn't even remember who Ward Bond was... thought maybe it was James' older brother or sumpthin'.
  18. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Ward Bond was one of John Wayne's buddies and appeared in a number of his films. He was one of those "B" list actors like Harry Morgan who probably never went more than a week or so without appearing in something, and no doubt left this earth a very wealthy man.

  19. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Received my two undec Atlas "Master Line" newly tooled S-2's. Very nice. Much finer castings and details than the original Roco-based S-2's. Very smooth and quiet running, too. Really like the Lok-Sound DCC/Sound module. Now I gotta' come up with some HO scale KCT decals. (The ones I have on hand are S scale and O scale!)
  20. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    Been a busy boy with what little free time I've had since Friday night:

    * De-sprued, cleaned up (with files and Xacto's), and assembled all the details onto Frisco VO1000 #214 that I received back from klrwhizkid. (Keith installed DCC/Sound for me.) Looks sooo much better with all the foof installed. I guess it's now time to package up bare-bones #224 and ship it off to the Sound Meister.

    * For gits n' shiggles, I de-sprued, cleaned up, and partially assembled an old Revell interlocking tower that I intend to use, and placed it on the layout for an onsite check. Looks like it might work in the desired location.

    * Test ran, and then assembled, the P2K Mop FA1/FB1 set I purchased some time ago. Both units ran surprisingly good for open frame motors. (Slow, smooth, and quiet.) Don't think there'll be a need to repower! These will eventually be sent off to Keith for his touch.

    In all... been a relaxing and fun weekend.

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