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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Grubes Posted - 11/04/2018 : 10:08:01 PM
Welcome to the beginning of my Wild Horse Island RR. thread. I’ll be posting on the construction and the progress of my new venture. I’m experienced in N scale (please see my “Eastern Shore in N scale thread on this site,”) however, this will be a bit of different path. In the past I’ve hand laid all of my track using Code 40 rail, Fast Track products and wood ties. For me, realistic looking track is key which is why I’ve surprised even myself by using Kato sectional track for this new layout.

I ‘ve made this decision for a number of reasons. Although I had no issues with derailments and I feel my track looked good, the super-detailing wasn’t really apparent without looking very close and the fragility of Code 40 rail required a lot of work to ensure smooth running. Additionally, I never found a good way to throw the switches as drilling a hole in an N scale tie frequently resulted in the tie breaking under the stress of Tortoise switch machines. Finally, I didn’t feel like building hand laid switches this time.

I also felt it would be a fun challenge to make the Kato track look as realistic as possible. In creating the track plan, I thought that a combination of paint, concrete pads that decreased the appearance of rail height, and good scenic work might provide the realism I required.

My track plan started as a variation on Iaian Rice’s Chesapeake Harbor RR (picture attached). I found his river entrances as a bit small and not realistic so I began by widening the overall size of the waterway. I also reduced some of the track as his plan would’ve required custom track work. My goals were to have a layout that interested me for operations and, unlike my previous layouts, provided constant running - a big reason for my tearing down my previous layout.

I wanted to hide the oval layout look by widening the river and using some scenic modifications, and by having the river divide the two areas of concentrated track, providing a natural reason for connecting the two sides with an oval.

The overall dimensions and track requirements are:
60” x 30”
12 turnouts
Kato Unitrack to include Kato electrical connectors
Foam base on plywood with plywood frame
Digitrax DCC system

The theme is a small harbor, again on the Eastern Shore of Maryland/Virginia. The name, “Wild Horse Island RR” comes from the island of Chincoteague in Virginia, a national wildlife reserve which is home to a herd of wild horses.

The railroad will serve a small harbor that has survived because of seafood trade, the handling of containers and hazardous cargo that can’t pass through certain areas in the region and because of the local grain industry. The railroad connects with CSX to the north and NS to the south and I originally included an interchange track for both. My initial track plan is below. One of the major advantages of Kato track (as opposed to handlaying) is the ability to easily move track around and experiment with track placement. As you’ll see, my final track plan is very different than my original and the benefits of easily configurable track helped significantly.

To increase my motivation, I purchased a Scale Trains NS GEVo ET44AC. This will be one of the engines used to take harbor traffic south and I intend to eventually buy, super-detail and weather an older Geep as my main engine for switching the harbor. It will probably be lettered for the Eastern Shore RR as I still have that railroad in my heart.

#8232;In the next post I'll show my final track plan and explain why I made the changes.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Michael Hohn Posted - 10/21/2020 : 1:35:11 PM

I always enjoy your updates. You do an excellent job modeling seashore and marshland.

Tyson Rayles Posted - 10/21/2020 : 08:47:44 AM
George D Posted - 10/21/2020 : 08:13:50 AM
Nice looking wetlands, Dave.

TRAINS1941 Posted - 10/20/2020 : 11:10:53 PM
Dave it looks great. Water and the Marsh grass really make for a great scene.
Grubes Posted - 10/20/2020 : 10:25:23 PM
Well it's been a long time between postings. COVID has kept me busy at work with little time for much else. Because of that, my progress has been very slow. Also, there were a lot of things that I had to re-do on the layout when I added the new section that weren't what I consider fun. I've been plodding through and finally have gotten back to a place where I'm enjoying working on the railroad. Some major accomplishments:

1. Completing most of the base scenery
2. Reinstalling the working railroad crossing
3. Wiring the new section
4. Painting the track
5. Installing the bridges

Re-installing the road crossing was probably the hardest part of adding the new addition. Gating the gate crossings to work, re-installing the opto-sensors and re-doing some of the wiring took a while and required ordering some parts. But it's finally done, works well and it's exciting to see the lights flash, the bell ring and the gates go up and down. The crossing was a bit hidden prior to the track plan change but now it's in a great position to watch.

Installing the bridges got me to a point where all the scratch built buildings I'd completed are now on the layout. I compromised with the bridges: they have Code 40 rail from when I built them while handlaying track. Instead of removing the small rails, I placed the Kato unitrack on top of the existing rail and painted the Kato plastic roadbed brown. It's not ultra-realistic but it works and the focus is on the bridges.

I was also able to get the water and marsh grass down and it will need a bit more work but it gives me the effect I wanted.

The track is all wired and I've been running loops for the first time in about 4 months. The rest of the track needs a once over but things are finally working. I'm also pleased with the way the harbor turned out. It now looks like a bit more like it belongs and there's an understandable way for boats to get in and out.

I'll be working on some unfinished scenery next and then back to getting all the trackwork back to where it needs to be.

Some pictures:

Bill Gill Posted - 06/14/2020 : 08:09:34 AM
Thanks, Dave, it's looking very marshy.

After a lot of experimentation with my first efforts messing things up more than fixing things, I finally got close to what I had been picturing. Dave
Can you tell us what you did for that effect? The water looks terrific.
Tyson Rayles Posted - 06/14/2020 : 07:35:36 AM
mark_dalrymple Posted - 06/14/2020 : 01:47:02 AM
Looking really good, Dave,

Cheers, Mark.
Grubes Posted - 06/13/2020 : 9:57:00 PM
Appreciate all the feedback. Bill, let me see if I can put together how I created the water. Have to confess I do a lot of trail and error but do have some basics.

I've started creating and placing the marsh grass mats. They're static grass on acetate and right now, not permanent. After I finalize the placement I'll start with the acrylic gel water layer.

David J Buchholz Posted - 06/01/2020 : 12:48:32 PM
Looks like swimmers would come out with legs full of leaches. That's actually a compliment. Nice Job.
railman28 Posted - 06/01/2020 : 12:43:46 PM
Mike said it well, very uninviting waters. But very realistic marshland.

Michael Hohn Posted - 06/01/2020 : 12:08:35 PM

You make the most uninviting water I’ve seen on a model. And your photography enhances the look. Excellent work.

Bill Gill Posted - 06/01/2020 : 09:25:06 AM
I really like the aerial shot of the water!
If you get a chance can you post the photos and how you made the water
(both what worked so well and what didn't) here:
Dutchman Posted - 06/01/2020 : 09:16:29 AM
I like the look, Dave.[:-thumbu]
jbvb Posted - 06/01/2020 : 08:58:15 AM
I like it too.

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