KC Terminal-Themed Layout, Part II

Discussion in 'Divisions' started by yardmaster, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    I think I just realized that I've not really posted any sort of layout update for the "new house."

    On the previous thread last August, I'd posted that we were looking at moving.

    At that time, I mentioned that my wife
    We moved at the end of last October. The new house provides a decent sized workshop, where our new Northern Division/KC Terminal has started taking shape.

    The land grant is NOT climate controlled per se - the ductwork does not have any vents, but I have now found that it stays comfortable in both summer and winter.

    I'm only on "Phase I" which represents the Frisco in Olathe, KS along with the interchange to the Santa Fe. Most of the track has been put down and wired, although I do need to order more track soon. The kids have been pressing to do more than just lay track, so my daughter and I did some of the first ballasting last night.

    Hopefully I can get a crude sketch of the room up soon. I'm not really putting down a track plan per se - I know the prototype arrangements of what I want to include, and I know how much space I want the benchwork to consume, so I'm putting down benchwork, pinning down track to see how much will fit, and am then gluing things down.

    The general "vignettes" that will appear:
    • Olathe
    • Tower 4 Interlocking
    • AT&SF / SL-SF "Freight House" area between 23rd and
      12th Streets
    • KC Union Station - just a few tracks for trains, REA with Tower 5

    We have just enough track to do a wee bit of switching between the main line and the "east" team track. It feels really good to run trains again! Once we finish Olathe, I'll have to acquire more rolling stock and get some paperwork ready so that we can handle any visitors.

    Best Regards,
    w3hodoug likes this.
  2. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    This is great news Chris. Glad to hear about your progress. Post a few pictures when you have a chance.
  3. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Fantastic! You gotta post up some pics when you get the chance. What brand track and switches are you using?
  4. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Jim, I'm just using good ol' Atlas Code 100 and Atlas switches. I'd love to use a more realistic track, but since we're ultimately in a non-climate controlled environment and since my track laying skills need further honing, I thought this would help ensure more reliability in operation. I like the aesthetics of closer-to-scale rail, but operations tips the scales of balance for my druthers.

    I'm still planning on handlaying track someday on a Caruthersville Branch layout - code 70 or less. I remember Doug Hughes describing how he'd used popsicle sticks cut down to size for ties, and we have a gargantuan box in the kid's craft cabinet that may never be fully utilized. Hmm.

    Best Regards,
  5. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Sounds like a good plan. I see that a lot of operation oriented layouts use code 100 for reliability. I will try hand laying track on a small diorama someday. So many plans, so little time.
  6. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Once you paint code 100, it is more difficult to discern from smaller rail and looks fine.
  7. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Welp...it's been over a year since I last announced the beginnings of V2.0 of our KC Terminal-themed layout.

    While I don't have pictures yet, I do have a track diagram/schematic a la what Rick McClellan has done on his layout (see http://www.frisco.org/vb/album.php?albumid=40&attachmentid=12886).

    I need to give a more proper layout track plan sketch, but in short:
    (1) To the left, the SL-SF tracks will curve around the end of the layout in a hidden-from-view "staging" area, and will loop back into the AT&SF RR main.
    (2) To the right, both the SL-SF and AT&SF will curve to the right for a fiddle-staging over the workbench. This will be a temporary solution; as long as the kids want to model KC and its environs, I'll eventually convert this into "Phase II," which will be a loose representation of KCT Tower 4.

    Only one building is even close to ready: the building that will represent Landmark Lumber. And, the AT&SF track and staging "loop" still needs to go in. However, I can do some basic spotting of cars on the industry tracks when I don't feel like actually building.

    Best Regards,

    Attached Files:

  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    That is Clean Chris.
    I need to take the time and do that. Looks like a busy place too:D
    Tom Holley
  9. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Thanks, Tom. I have a bit of Masonite (I think that's what it's called) for finishing out the fascia, but need to get more. Then I figure I'll laminate this and place it where operators can see it.

    More to come. Just need to take the photos and find time to upload them.

    Best Regards,
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    One thing that I think I will add to the right (North) side of the East Team track is a vegetable and fruit-loading facility.

    Some time ago, I had found an older Frisco Employee's Magazine article that talked of spinach shipments from Olathe. Separately, I have an 80s-era article on a long, narrow grape-loading facility in California where trucks of grapes from the vinyards would back up to the platform, unload their grapes onto the roofed, open-sided platform where they would be "transloaded" onto reefers.

    It does involve creeping away from my desire for historical modeling, but I think it will add a nice operational element. I'll just have to decide whether or not it would make the east team track too crowded.

    Best Regards,
  11. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Four years-plus is waaaay too long for an update, but from our little slice of the Northern Division, an update:

    This section is virtually done. A little scenery and structures to add, but I have run some sea trials in anticipation of an actual, trial operating session. It can be done.
    -Using the schematic above, I have opted to omit the stock pen. A mock-up revealed it would just take up too much space. It was either that or the lumber mill, and the latter seemed like a higher-traffic option for my era.
    -I also opted NOT to include a veggie/fruit loading building on the east team track. I like the uncluttered, uncrowded look of just a simple team track.
    More below...

    The Rest of the Layout
    I've sketched out some "Phase II and Phase III" Plans that would entail:
    --29th Street Interlocking area, primarily featuring Rodney Milling and the Fairgrounds Branch.
    --Interchange with MKT, WAB, ATSF in this vicinity.
    --Fairgrounds Branch, greatly selectively compressed.

    I've done a goodly amount of research and feel like I have enough data to move forward. However...

    The Rest of the Story
    Some of my loose trials for an operating session with Olathe as a stand-alone element have revealed some glaring deficiencies:
    (1) Trackwork is atrocious. Check that; the subroadbed is atrocious. There are more sags in places than a swayback nag. Shoulda used thicker plywood - lesson learned but in the meantime, it would be a lot of hassle to remove/upgrade. I really, reallyshould have held off on ballast and scenery before I was sure that the trackwork looked and operated okay, but eagerness got the best of me.
    (2) The "south staging" is a partial return loop. I'd initially thought that I'd have a hidden "loop" that would connect to the ATSF mainline, and could do some continuous running. I opted to ditch the continuous run function and truncated the staging "curve." But, in the meantime, it's a very inefficient use of space, and I'm finding that my dissatisfaction with it is quite profound.
    (3) The ATSF main and industrial tracks are just too far back from the layout edge for my comfort. I've not had any derailments, but if I do, it's either "Go, Go, Gadget Arms," or haltingthe session and getting out a step ladder.
    (4) I'm finding that I really like the spread-out, non-cluttered look of a less-industrial setting like Olathe. As much as I love building structures, I feel a bit daunted by trying to kitbash or scratchbuild a slough of structures for KC.
    (5) I'm also finally coming to the conclusion that my modeling pace is not conducive to effectively recreating Northern Division, Kansas City Subdivision traffic. And, I'm at peace with that. More time will make itself available as the kids continue to approach the time when they leave the nest, but even then, I have a lot of other interests. My "other" job/hobby entails doing P.A. announcing at Mizzou sporting events, so between fall soccer, winter women's basketball and spring baseball, I have a lot of time after work that's not in the layout room. Long story short, I can see myself years from now saying "Gee, I wish I'd modeled something more achievable by my standards."

    Conclusion/Near Term Plans:
    (a) Finish tidying up Olathe with scenery, etc.
    (b) Work on having an op session. I think both my kids are game for kicking the tires.
    (c) Get some photos posted. I've nearly finished the Olathe depot.
    (d) Pause any expansion.

    Regarding freezing the layout as is, I find that Charles Wherry's photos and description of Riding the Highline -
    has me very seriously thinking about moving in a different direction, i.e. enjoy my HO-Scale Olathe for now and then start anew with the Clinton Sub. But, that discussion will be for a new thread.

    Thanks, in advance, for pardoning the rather lengthy update. I'd be curious to hear from other Clinton Sub modelers about their joys and concerns with their choice of Frisco locale.

    Best Regards,
  12. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    Directional and interest changes are almost inevitable. It happens. Take your time and try to define what you really want your "next one" to accomplish. Even then, there may be some drift over the years. Suggest getting the underpinnings of a good layout under your belt (read/learn about good benchwork/etc) while you wait for the time to arrive that you re-direct your efforts. Have fun!
  13. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    The Clinton sub exactly met my modeling wants - branch line with small train lengths, point to point with a yard at each end and a yard in the middle, a coal mine, with some switching along the way. The main problems include the Clinton Depot off a spur and Harrisonville. A minor issue is that most depots have to be scratch built. Thankfully, Dale produced Blairstown and Walnut Grove depots, so that's a start on those. Of great benefit was Karl's father's chaining notes that show track layouts, so I could come close, but with room constraints, a lot of fudging still had to be done. I had to give up on Harrisonville and go with Belton instead and to change the directional access of the Clinton depot.
  14. w3hodoug

    w3hodoug 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Not recommended. Even my wife has "directed" me to not hand lay on cut ties for future layouts. Life is too short.
    Ozarktraveler and yardmaster like this.
  15. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Good advice, Doug. As I continue to become more risk averse with age, it seems wiser to use some basic loss control and just get boughten ties.

    Best Regards,
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  16. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    May 4, 2017 at approximately 8:30pm

    The aforementioned represents the date/time that my daughter and I conducted and successfully completed a simulated ops session. We ran a generic SB local; she worked as engineer while I handled brakeman/conductor responsibilities.

    The Good:
    • Only two derailments, which was better than expected.
    • She said she'd be game for further sessions and even remarked that "It's kinda like a puzzle." A pretty rousing endorsement for a 13-year old who primarily likes to participate in music and sports.

    The Not-So-Good:
    • Engine stalled in a few places, which I'm hoping is only reflective of deferred track cleaning over the past couple of months. That's on the to-do list for the track gang.
    • The Layout elevation is only 48". Since my daughter's now nearly as tall as I am, she doesn't get much of an eye level view. We do have an old bar stool that puts me at roughly eye level. Any future layout will be at a higher elevation.

    Here's the track schematic (final) that I'll need to include on the fascia for the benefit of the train crews.

    Best Regards,

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 5, 2017
    Turky44, FriscoCharlie and Joe Lovett like this.
  17. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    I really like it when a father and daughter is interested in the same thing and how much better could it be than a model railroad layout that works. My daughter and I made a lot of trees for my N scale layout. It's good quality time!!!

  18. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Well, I've tried taking some tablet-photos, but every time I try to attach them to a post, I get an "insufficient memory" message. I'll persevere.

    Meanwhile, some things I've found discovered when looking at the layout through pictures:

    (a) It does a much better job of showing the various warts than I tend to notice with the unaided eye! I've already slopped a little more ground turf in spots where the camera shows that it's needed.
    (b) I've been reasonably happy with my good ol' Code 100 track, especially when painted and weathered some. However, when looking at photos taken at scale ground level, the clunkiness of the rail really stands out to me. It probably also stems from seeing a LOT of photos of good looking layouts with smaller-code track.

    As an aside to (b), there's the old adage of sports teams playing "down" to poor competition. Similarly, it always seems that a baseball team's ace never seems to get the offensive support that he deserves; my hypothesis is that the offense reckons that they don't need to try quite as hard, since the #1 starter can make a 1-0 or 2-0 lead hold.

    In short, I wonder how many of my trackwork flaws stemmed from my false sense of security, e.g. "Code 100 track will be more forgiving of any shoddiness."

    If, on future versions/layouts, I do go the handlaying route as I hope to do, it's going to take diligence. Simply muttering the Alan Shepard prayer under one's breath and hoping for the best apparently does not make for good, smooth trackwork.

    Best Regards,
  19. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter


    With regard to your memory issue, I believe that not only does the site place a restriction on the image file size, I believe that there is a dimensional limit on images as well.
  20. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter


    I think that problem is not on the forum end.


Share This Page