New West Bottoms 1964 SLSF/MP Layout

Discussion in 'Divisions' started by mbowline, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. mbowline

    mbowline Mike Bowline bottomslover

    Hello Frisco friends:
    Thank you to all who assisted in my Kansas City research over the last year as I build my railroad that depicts the Kansas City West Bottoms area in 1964. Equipment of all thirteen railroads in KC in 1964 will make layout appearances as they run from staging to their freight house and/or industries they are responsible to switch and back again. I anticipate keeping 3-4 operators busy during an operating session.
    I have included photos of construction progress, a track plan, and an aerial to locate the railroad. My thanks to a member of who created and posted the invaluable B&W aerial with Frisco trackage and industries defined I ahve included. That photo, plus lots of Sanborn map analysis, led me to the SLSF industries I wanted to include on the railroad. Sorry the photos are not in numerical order below.
    As of June 1, 2011, benchwork is complete, lighting/valence is complete, all structure mock-ups are complete and in place, and trackwork has begun. My control system is CVP EasyDCC with wireless throttles.
    Freight houses of the following railroads are on the layout and switched by power and cabooses of the respective road: SLSF, GM&O, CB&Q, ATSF, CRI&P, MKT, WAB, CGW, and CMSP&P/KCS (shared). I will not be able to include the large freight houses of MP nor UP.
    The Frisco will run from staging to the SLSF freight house just south of the 12th Ave Viaduct. The Frisco will also switch eleven industries in the alley between 8th and 9th Streets, two industries along Santa Fe Street (with street-running), four industries northeast of 8th and Santa Fe St, and the Rudy-Patrick Seed elevator at 8th and Santa Fe St (with its cool curved wall along the west leg of the SLSF wye).
    The Missouri Pacific will run from staging and switch four industries along St. Louis Ave in the bottoms, and the Missouri Produce Market near the ASB Bridge and back to staging.
    The CRI&P, ATSF, and CB&Q will run from staging to their freight houses and/or to the Missouri Produce Yard and back to staging.
    The Kansas City Terminal Railway will run from staging to most any industry or freight house and back to staging, or maybe even between modeled industries – I don’t know yet.
    All other railroads will run from staging to their respective freight house and back to staging. There will be no through-trains modeled.
    The Missouri Produce Yard is at the east end of the modeled MP trackage and will be served by the four yard co-owners: MP, CRI&P, ATSF, and CB&Q. ATSF will have a zebra-stripe 44-tonner stationed there, and the other three roads will also work the yard with their local power. Reefers will be setout on tracks paralleled by concrete loading platforms for direct loading into waiting produce trucks.
    Many West Bottoms structures will be included as shown on the track plan and seen in the photos of structure mock-ups. Iconic structures to be modeled will be the Rudy-Patrick elevator and the adjacent curved-wall Rudy-Patrick Atlas Building, the 12th Ave Viaduct, Stowe Hardware, two Crooks Brothers buildings, Tower 2, and Tower 4. Each railroad freight house will be built to resemble its appearance in 1964 based on building plans, photos, and other research.
    Staging will consist of 14 six-foot-long cassettes, stored on an adjacent wall and attached where shown on the track plan. Trains will enter the layout engine-in-front. After doing their work, trains will return to staging engine-in-front. Trains will leave the layout and enter the empty cassette, which will be turned 180 degrees (end-for end), stored, ready to be re-attached in the future, at which time the trains will be headed onto the layout with the engine in front. Car fiddling will occur on cassettes in staging as necessary.
    I hope you enjoy the track plan, photos, and descriptions. Please post any questions or comments you have and I will be glad to respond.
  2. mark

    mark Member


    This is so cool!

    Whoever said that you cannot have a "big" railroad in a small place was not correct. The 12th Street viaduct is a real signature feature. It really helps set the scene and establish the local. We are really looking forward to seeing your progress and having the opportunity to operate trains!

    Now I have that craving, again, for some Rosedale Bar-B-Que!

    Hope this helps.


  3. mark

    mark Member


    It would be good to add some measurements or a set of grid squares to help define the space on your plan.

    In looking over the plan, you might need to consider adding a second track/cassette near Tower 4. This, with a possible crossover, would add flexibility to switch the freight house zone on the south end of the railroad, while other switch jobs come on or go off stage.

    Hope this helps.


  4. Rancho Bob

    Rancho Bob Member

    Ah, this is great. Home sweet home and well missed by me, I assure everyone. Kudos and I cannot wait to see more progress photos. It is 12th "STREET" by the labeled it "Avenue". Somehow, you need to squeeze in the Stockyards building with the Golden Ox.

    Keep up the great work.

    B Dean
    JAX but dreaming about KC
  5. mbowline

    mbowline Mike Bowline bottomslover

    Bob, you are quite correct about it being 12th St - thank you for pointing that out. For such a visible icon, I certainly want to get the name correct!

    Thanks again
  6. mbowline

    mbowline Mike Bowline bottomslover

    Mark - thank you for your post.

    Regarding a grid and/or dimensions: I drew the plan in MicroStation which has a grid system and built-in measurements, but I opted to not print the grid because it made the plan too "busy". Maybe that was a mistake for those of you reviewing it. I will print a PDF of the plan with the gris and get it posted soon.

    The room size is 10' x 11'. The benchwork depth in the following areas is: Freight House District: 24"; Santa Fe St/8th and 9th St alley: 24"; St Louis Ave area: 28", MO Produce Yard: 28". (All ore hollow-core doors. There is plenty of room in the middle pit.

    Hmmmm, a second track (w/crossover) at Tower 4. That is a great idea and I will see how I can get that fitted in and not lose any tracks to the existing six freight houses.

    Thanks again for your thoughts!
  7. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Mike -

    Thanks very much for sharing. This is pretty helpful to see and visualize; once we finish Olathe and Tower 4 on our iteration, I need to figure out how the West Bottoms is going to be "squz" into the remaining space.

    I'll echo Mark's thought: this is proof positive that a good amount of prototype action can be included in a small space with good planning.

    What materials did you use for your building/viaduct mockups? The 12th Street Viaduct looks pretty good for a mockup!

    Best Regards,
  8. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    You've just become my hero! :)

    I'm working on a small-space switching layout myself (Paris, Texas), and while I don't have nearly the amount of buildings to model, I'm dealing with representing the customers Frisco served, including interchange partners. If you can squeeze the West Bottoms in your space, I can surely shoehorn a small bit of Texas into mine.
  9. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Mike, absolutely fantastic! 'nuff said.

    Truly an inspiration to all the geography-challenged modellers out there.
  10. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year

    Excellent. I wanna know how you did the 12th St bridge. It looks real good.
  11. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Supporter

    Nice layout in a small space! Looks like a fun one to operate too. I'm interested in the 12th St. bridge too. I want one in N scale for my layout.

    Dale Rush
    Carthage, MO
  12. mbowline

    mbowline Mike Bowline bottomslover

    Rick wanted to know about the 12th St Viaduct model: It is a mock-up/placeholder, one that actually I built three different sizes of to get an idea of the scale of the bridge in relation to the surroundings. The first two were built of posterboard and were each smaller than the one in the photos that I ended up with. I also added the forced perspective to the bridge on the final placeholder model you see in the photos. i have attached a few more close-up photos.

    I started the 12th St Viaduct placeholder model with crude details because I was more interested in the scale of the structure as opposed to the detials. As I progressed, I realized the final styrene model (not the placeholder) will be a real doozie to build and probably will not be built for a few years while I concentrate on other projects (trackwork, rolling stock, transfer cabooses). Therefore, I decided to invest a little more time in the placeholder because I may be looking at it for awhile.

    The modeling material is foamcore board, with some laminations of several thicknesses to get some "heft" where needed. I must say, this really stretched the limits of foamcore as a modeling material: it is just not designed for detail. Plus, the foam center does not take paint and butt-joint corners look horrible. However, I kept telling myself it is just a placeholder and therefore I should not get worried about the shortcomings of the foamcore modeling material.

    As I compare the placeholder model to the prototype, the proportions of the arch of the model are a bit off. The prototype arch is a little "flatter" than the placeholder model. When I build the final styrene model, I plan on improving the proportions of the arch.

    I am looking forward to the model freight houses that will be located just south of the bridge "snuggling" up under the bridge model, just like they did in the bottoms.

    Attached Files:


    SAFN SAAP Member

    Very nice! Subscribed. I can't wait to see how this turns out. Gives me incentives. That viaduct is awesome. Keep up the good work. Hope you'll be running steam. That's the icing on the cake.
  14. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Mike, thanks for the details and detailed pics of the 12th Street Viaduct.

    Have you considered simply adding styrene details to the existing foam core mock-up? St. Louis-area modeler Gary Hoover had a nice articel in MR a few years back on building the AT&SF San Bernardino depot with foam core board as the basis of construction, with styrene and ABS details inside and out.

    The scale of your mock up looks swell; it seems a shame to waste all of that work when perhaps you can use what you've already constructed.

    At any rate, your layout thus far is a strong testimonial to the value of mock-ups!

    Best Regards,
  15. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    Mike, just my 2 cents -- Superb work to date.
    I think the viaduct looks pretty good even with the shortcomings you described. Perhaps you might try some texture paint and weathering before starting construction on a new one -- unless your heart is set upon more closely following the arc of the arch.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    I'm sure there is scale concrete that he can use to coat the viaduct with, unless the original is steel.
  17. TAG1014

    TAG1014 Supporter Supporter

    Shoot, I'd just "tune up" the mock up a little bit, it's already super. As they guys say, a few details and some concrete paint and you have a contest model! The "shape" of that bridge is 90% of what the eye catches.

  18. renapper

    renapper Passed away March 8, 2013

    Mike, How accurate are you trying to be? The reason I ask is I have a KCT map that shows the locations of the freight huoses in the west bottoms and they differ considerably from your layout. I would be glad to send you a copy of it or perhaps Kieth could provide you a copy. I had it available at the last Frisco Convention. For example, the Frisco Feight house was right up next to the 12 street vaiduct with the head house facing 12 street. I think you are doing a great job with your west bottoms layout, I would just like to see it be more accurate. But remember rule, it's my railroad!
  19. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Excellent job!! Looking forward to updates and more pictures of your progress!!

    Andre Ming
  20. mbowline

    mbowline Mike Bowline bottomslover

    That is a great question. I debated about locating the freight houses accurately in relation to each other OR in relation to landmarks. For the six freight houses I have room for in this area, I ultimately decided to locate the six freight houses in relative "track" accuracy to each other as measured in an east/west manner. In other words, the maps show the freight houses from east to west in this area of the bottoms as: SLSF, GM&O, CB&Q, ATSF, MILW, MKT, and CRI&P. On my layout, if you extend the tracks all to the 12th St Viaduct, the houses would be in this same order in relation to each other.

    There is one exception: the GM&O freight house and the SLSF freight house swapped positions on my layout, due to the hip roof on the GM&O not being friendly to an angled placement into the backdrop which cut the roof at an angle and did not look good. So I compromised and put the GM&O freight house more out in the open and the SLSF house more angled into the backdrop.

    renapper: I am pleased that you have analyzed my post and attachments in enough detail to realize some of the compromises I made in locating the major elements. You probably also noticed that each railroads' freight house does not have its own road's track serving it: all six freight houses share the same main track coming on-layout from staging. I couldn't find a way to have all 12 KC railroads, each with its own track, coming on-stage from staging. So I compromised and have all railroads sharing the one (or two tracks if I am able to incorporate Mark's sage advice) track coming onto the layout from staging.

    I have also had to compromise which end the head houses were on several of the freight houses. For example, the model SLSF freight house head house is on the end away from the 12th St Viaduct (the south end) for the simple reason that the north end of the model is in/behind the backdrop. As most of you know, the prototype head house was on the north end.

    Another compromise: notice only one of the freight houses (GM&O) will have an area modeled for showing receiving/discharging trucks for the inbound and outbound freight. I decided it was more important to have lots of tracks serving lots of freight houses yet with no room for trucks, than to have fewer freight houses with room for trucks. Operational variety vs. modleing trucks. Some may disagree - let me know your thoughts.

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