Working on layout plans

Discussion in 'General' started by friscobob, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    With the advent of spring, plus a total lack of activity on anything model railroading, I've been getting busy with ideas for layout plans. Due to my limited space, I'm limiting plans to a switching-type layout.

    With this in mind, I came up with a list of likely candidates for modeling:

    • The Afton Sub's Miami Branch, featuring the large BFGoodrich tire plant in Miami. Included would be some of the shippers along the main line, such as the Miami Co-op.
    • Paris, Texas on the south end of the Arthur Sub. Customers include Campbell Soup, Earth Grains, VFM and Flex-o-Lite, plus interchange with Santa Fe, MP and SP (former Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe, Texas & Pacific & Texas Midland respectively).
    • Muskogee, OK. Including a couple of glass plants and the Ft. Howard Paper complex, this also has interchange with MKT and MP's ex-Midland Valley line. There are a couple of other industries on this line, including Griffith and a feed mill.
    All of these would make for good subjects in any era, even the 1970s (my era of choice). I've been gathering data on both the Paris and Miami areas, and doodling trackplans that most closely look like either track layout in the respective cities. The layout will be a switching-type line, with staging of some sort.

    Room size is 6 feet by 11 1/2 feet, so as you see space is a premium, be it HO or N scale.

    As soon as I come up with a trackplan, I'll post it here.

    I also posted this to let folks know that we don't have to have a lot of room to model Frisco- my last layout was N scale on a hollow-core door, set in SW Arkansas/SE Oklahoma. There are several other prime locations Frisco had that can be modeled (Ft. Smith, Kansas City, the lines in the Picher Mining District, etc) that lend themselves to layout track plans.
  2. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Bob, it sounds like a good time to be planning, and it sounds like you've done a good job of narrowing your options. It sounds as if you're planning and potential locales are suitable for your available modeling real estate. I'll look forward to seeing your plans, sketches and miscellaneous doodles as you go through the planning process!

    Best Regards,
  3. SteveM

    SteveM Member Supporter

    Bob, several of us are always hapy to kibitz a plan. I think we helped Manny some, but then something happened to his progress and we haven't heard much.
    Keep us posted. I printed the Muskogee quads and aerials once--lots of interest if you pick the era right. Likewise Paris; there are still some large structures around the downtown that must have meant a lot of traffic once.
  4. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Steve- Back in the day, there were two good-sized industries south of downtown close to the T&P tracks- a large cotton compress (looks like it was served by T&P and Texas Midland/T&NO/SP), and Speas Vinegars (also served by T&P). Also, the Santa Fe went north of the joint ATSF/Frisco depot and continued north-northeast for about a mile. And until 1956, there were a total of 5 railroads serving Paris- Texas Midland, Texas & Pacific, Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe, Paris & Mt. Pleasant, and of course Frisco.

    I've narrowed my choices to two locations- Miami and Paris. Primary reason is I have more knowledge on these locations. It would be a one-locomotive operation (a GP7 or GP15-1), but I can swap out locomotives as I go. For the electronically-challenged (me), I can still stay with DC, altho I'm still considering DCC, and can convert at least a couple of diesels. I have plenty of code 83 track, but I'm contemplating code 70 and 55 (all HO) to make it look more realistic. The "main line" minimum radius will be no less than 22", with maybe an 18" radius here or there. Yard limits would be in effect, so no express-train speeds (no pass. trains, either).

    I have more in my personal list of "givens & druthers"- now all I need is the plan. That's still coming.
  5. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Supporter

    Since you are starting over anew, I would definitely consider using DCC, even if you trim down the number of locomotives that you will end up running. It is not that difficult to adjust to and one heck of a lot less wiring in the end. As far a track size is concerned, several of us have decided that except for possibly sidings, Code 83 is the way to go for us. I realize that Code 70 looks more realistic, but there is a maintenance trade-off.

    Just my opinion.
  6. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    On second thought, you may be right. I was looking at the price of ME code 70 turnouts, and since I'm running on a budget, I'll most likely stay with the code 83. However, I have a coupla pieces of code 70 flex, and I think they'll look great in some of the spurs.

    Besides, with the money I save staying in code 83, I can use that to get a simple DCC rig, such as Digitrax's Zephyr. ;)
  7. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    We have a LDSIG meet coming up in Tulsa next weekend- three days of model railroad operations, seminars on layout planning & ops with Tony Koester, Doug Gurin and our own Keith Robinson. I'm taking a pen & note pad to take notes, hoping to get some good ideas.
  8. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    I know you are familiar with paris, tx, so that is the one I would go with. I think you will be the only one modelling the authur Sub.
  9. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Given the trackwork, number of possible railroads to interchange with, and shippers, Paris would be the ideal choice. All I would need are a couple more Airslide hoppers for Earth Grains.

    In Paris, all of Frisco's shippers are north of the joint ATSF/SLSF station, so were I to model this area, I could exclude the Santa Fe and MP interchanges. The Campbell Soup plant would be a poser, as it's a pretty large facility. I foresee building flats used in this area.

    Lemme see if I can post a general map of Paris here................
  10. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    The more I look at my choices, it looks like the south end of the Arthur Sub in Paris, Texas will be how I go. I have a boatload of four-axle power in HO, among which are 2 GP15-1s (Walthers Trainline) and five GP7s (Front Range, Atlas/Kato, and P2K). I also have three HO scale MP and one SP locomotive, and can scrounge up a Santa Fe Geep or CF7. The biggest shipper in Paris was Campbell Soup, and it gave rise to the nickname "Soup Job" to Kiamichi Railroad locals. Also included in the era I would be modeling (the 1970s) are Merico/Earth Grains (bread), Flex-o-Lite, Valley Feed Mills, and Precision Packaging. Interchange was mostly with Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific and Southern Pacific (which had its own line, ex-Texas Midland, from Commerce, TX until a washout forced SP to use Santa Fe rails). And until 1956, the Paris & Mt. Pleasant ran between these two communities along the route of present-day US271. In Paris, Frisco and Santa Fe had a joint yard, and swapped off operations.
    Now, were I to build this in N scale, I could include the MP yards and their online customers (plus the site of the cotton mill and Speas Vinegar) as well as a staging track on the other side representing Hugo, from whence the Paris turn originates.

    I have read an article by Lance Mindheim about a shelf layout he built, and I'm intrigued by what he did. A foam sheet laid over a narrow hollow-core door, held up by heavy-duty shelf brackets. In HO scale, I can run with 22" radius on the main (and 18" on spurs and switch leads) and use building flats to represent Campbell Soup and Merico. At the least, just concentrate on the industrial shipping. However, the missus is warming to an expansion of real estate, so with a larger area to work in I could include more things (including the Hugo staging track, and use the Santa Fe running south into staging, calling it Dallas)

    So, since I have several narrow HCDs and some foam sheets I'm not using, I need to get busy designing.

    BTW, right now I have a 6 by 11.5-foot space to work with, but with some finagling, I can get 3 more feet of width to play with. SHoot, I can almost just use ONE single sheet of notbook paper (8 1. by 11") to draw my trackplan! :D
  11. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    As far as I know, I'm the only one even modeling the A&A Sub, or a reasonable facsimilie thereof. No fast freights or first-class varnish there (well, except for the Meteor extension from Monett to Paris up until 1958). It's definitely not mainline action such as what was seen out of Kansas City or Springfield.
  12. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    OK, here is a switching layout in HO scale I came up with:

    I haven't finalized the track locations, but here is a rough idea of what I'm looking for. There are no industries trackside to the Frisco south of the spur to Merico and Flex-o-Lite, so I saw no reaal reason to model the track to the ATSF/Frisco yard. However, I COULD put in that track, hiding it behind some low backdrops & scenery & using it as a staging for Santa Fe & MP interchange. The customers served by Frisco are all on the north side of Paris, and of course Campbell Soup was (and still is) the largest.

    SUggestions, ideas, criticisms, etc. are welcome, and will be taken into consideration. :)
  13. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    Plans looks good to me, however, I would add a turntable or Wye so you ca turn your power.
  14. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Since I'll be using GP7s, GP15-1s and a switcher or two (which would be a stretch, but then again 44-tonners were used in Paris at one time, and I have one, so hey....), I'm not too concerned with turning power. On the real Frisco during this time frame, there were no wyes or turntables that I can see. As long as the engine can rund around its train & get ready to head back to Hugo, I'm good.

    WHich causes me to think.....should I, just for grins & giggles, decide to move the modeling era to the 1990s, I could build a couple of Kiamichi RR Geeps (I already have two) and run the Soup Job from Hugo to Paris, completely bypassing the Era of Bad News.
  15. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

  16. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    I have been busy researching the area I'm modeling, and I've uncovered several interesting facts:

    1. There were at least three scheduled switchjobs between Paris & Hugo (mostly outbound traffic from Paris, since there was little to no work to be done except for some switching at Arthur City, TX, on the river. Not sure if there was any military traffic at Camp Maxey in the 1970s, altho I know there was back during WWII.

    2. Cotton Belt ran its Paris-Dallas locals from Dallas to Sherman via SP, and MP to Paris, after the former Texas Midland line was washed out. Operated 3 times a week, it was mainly Campbell Soup-based. Its yard was behind the ATSF/SLSF depot in Paris.

    3. Speaking of Paris, Santa Fe & Frisco swapped yard duties. Frisco had no direct interchange with the MP, so I'm guessing Santa Fe took care of this chore.

    4. Virtually all of Frisco's customers were on the north side of town- besides Campbell Soup, there was Merico, bakers of Earth Grains; Precision Packaging & Printing, makers of corrugated cardboard boxes; Valley Feed Mill; and Flex-o-Lite, which manufactures the little glass beads seen in reflective lenses.

    There is a small yard next to the soup plant, named Betner. An office building is at the north end of the yard. AS the Frisco line ehads south, it crosses over US82/Loop 286 and goes for about a mile before a spur branches off to the west to serve both Merico and Flex-o-Lite. The line continues on south to the Frisco/Santa Fe depot & small yard- from there's it's Santa Fe all the way (to Dallas, that is).

    Given all this, I'm leaning towards modeling just the north side of town, and concentrating on the main down to the spur, plus the spur itself.

    Hope this topo map helps you with that I'm describing.

    Anyway, my plan is to have the main heading south disappear into semi-hidden staging to represent interchange with Santa Fe, MP and SSW. If I could work it, I want to have a track go off the other end of the layout "north" of the soup plant headed for Hugo. This would represent the car-swapping with cars left by Tulsa-Hope manifest freight 738/739. Since it was pretty much GP7 and GP15 territory on this part of the Central Sub, it looks like my six-axle road power is in storage. Plus, this will give the the opportunity to model proper chat ballast, and perhaps some track that looks like it may need a mower, not a ballast regulator.
  17. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Bob, it sure sounds like you are doing your "due diligence," as P. Dolkos called it in an issue of Model Railroad Planning a few years back.

    Regarding your semi-hidden staging, if you hunger to show off any non-Frisco motive power, then including part of your interchange in a visible area would be a good idea. Regardless, seeing a MoP locomotive or others show up might help establish your locale's connection with the outside world.

    Thanks for the update!

    Best Regards,
  18. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Thought about that with using a Santa Fe locomotive, since ATSF and Frisco interchange head-to-head, as it were. I have a round-cab CF7 undec, so with some painting & detailing it could be Santa Fe again. In the real world, no foreign-road diesels ever ran north of the Frisco-Santa Fe depot, but who's to say it didn't happen that a Santa Fe or SP unit ran north to Betner when needed? ANd I DO have an SP GP9 (P2K model) that just needs some extra details (many more lights than stock), plus a few MP plausibility can be stretched a bit (a MP local detouring over the Frisco's Arthur and Ardmore Subs due to washouts west of Paris).

    Anyway, I'll post another trackplan soon- comments, criticism, etc. are welcome. I have a thick hide (goes with my hard head, sez my wife) :rolleyes:
  19. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter


    Shown is an update of my trackplan. I added (or will add, once I can find one) a curved turnout just north of Betner yard for a spur into the soup plant. The track closest to the plant (well, actually a very small part is modeled, since if I did the entire plant, I could never get into the room) will be for tankcar and boxcar unloading. I had to flip a spur around to fit the plan (the Precision Packaging & Printing spur).

    I do have some of the track wired for DCC, and am slowly working my way around the layout dropping feeder wires.
  20. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Sounds as if you're making good progress. I find wiring to be a drag and hated adding all the feeder wires and soldering everything. Thanks for the update.

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