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Author Topic Next Topic: Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad
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Ray Dunakin

Posted - 10/06/2016 :  01:01:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ray Dunakin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That's really looking great!

Country: USA | Posts: 3380 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/07/2016 :  10:48:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I did some full size mock up of what I could fit on the upper level. The goal is as close to the actual town of Clifftop as possible, with all the structures full size. My desire is to be able to recreate the operation of Clifftop, but I will make changes to be able to operate it and to get it to fit on a narrow shelf. I want to continue to use the Sergent couplers but since I have been using them for a few months now I know that to successfully be able to use them and not get frustrated you need to keep any of the coupling and uncoupling operations as close to and parallel as possible. With Sergent couplers have to reach in far and doing blind coupling will not work. By blind coupling I mean that you cannot see the couplers during the coupling process, which can happen when cars are obstructed by structures or scenery between you and the couplers, or by the cars being a too much of an angle compared to the operator that when the cars get close to coupling the cars block the view of the couplers. These sound like some pretty restrictive limitations to layout design, in reality anyone who has ever operated a layout (switching cars, not just running trains around) will know that it is much more comfortable and enjoyable when you follow these guidelines no matter what couplers you are using.

So why am I changing my mind, from fictional to prototype, because I have learned more than I know when I started. When I first designed the layout I had not visited that part of the country to see what it was actually like. Second, through actual site visits and research I learn that things were a little more interesting and operated different than I first thought.

When I started the layout design process I did not know how important the strip coal loading tipple in Clifftop was a major loading point. I was still thinking that all the mine sites were the major loading points. Data in the MC book shows that once the strip tipple was built more coal was loaded there than all the mines combined. Also, there is evidence that they may have loaded hopper cars with a locomotive pulling cars through (much like modern flood loading), which will work well for my planned operating strip coal tipple. I started designing the strip tipple for my current layout but after I worked a while on the design I felt that compressing it to fit my current layout won't work and the structure will lose a lot of the look and feel of the prototype, so that is another reason for the layout redesign, I want to get the strip tipple to be more up front and full size.

here is the prototype layout of Clifftop, the book's drawing is a little off and after talking with the authors they agree that it is possible that what I have drawn is closer to what may have actually been there. What is interesting to note is that this is basically the end of the line and there is not run around present, which means that it would have required the use of two locomotives to "turn" the train for the trip back down. We know from photos that the trains did back down locomotive first and they only way this is possible is by either doing "flying switches" or using a second locomotive. They may have done lots of flying switches but I believe that using link and pin couplers would have made this a very dangerous procedure and that using another locomotive was done at least some of the time.

here is how my plan for Clifftop worked out. The car shop area is pretty accurate. I have been wanting to build that car shop and recreate that scene from the first time I saw the photo of it in that book. Brian Bond and myself visited the actual site of the car shop and company store and it is amazing how tight this area is, and my drawing above does not reflect this feeling. What is amazing about the switch behind the company store the leads to the single stall engine house is how little distance there is from the back door of the company store to the bridge over Manns Creek. The rest of the plan is either compressed or flipped.

I added a turnout to the right end of the mainline around the car shop. This turnout will go to a mine branch that will be built on a narrow shelf in front of my utility closet. This shelf will be removable for access to the closet in case of repairs. I also have room for another turnout that could be used as a car spot for the power plant. In the later years there was an electrical power plant that receive coal hoppers to feed the boilers that produced steam. It seams strange that in an area so close to the mines they would load a car and then go down the line a little was and dump it, but they did, and I am sure it was cheaper than building a conveyor.

The other change is that I obviously could not locate the company store perpendicular to the car shop in my narrow shelf, so my company store is skewed and only two walls will be build, the rest will be hidden by trees. I REALLY wanted to build the store with all four sides and be able to see the front, but that store is HUGE and it is just not practical to do if as a full structure. The single stall engine house is also closer and at the wrong angle compared to the car shop, but again, in O scale it just wont fit any other way.

As we move down the line here is where the first major change happens, the strip tipple had to be flipped to the other side of the track and then flipped end for end, which puts the turnout and siding direction opposite from the prototype. This is where I made the compromise for better operation. Putting the tipple on the other side of the main lets the operator face the tipple and not have it block the view by placing it between the operator and the train. This tipple will actually load coal and I want it to be as accessible as possible. I flipped the siding so the tipple will not be a mirror of the original, and it will get the turnout off the tight curve around the end of the room. I would have loved for this area to have the main run along the edge of the tipple like the prototype but I have wall to my house in the way.

going out of sight to the left and not shown in the mock up will be a switch that will lead to mines 7, 8, and 9. For now this turnout will just be a short spur, however it will be the start of a future expansion into the next room once my son moves out, which will be soon.

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Crew Chief

Posted - 10/10/2016 :  3:40:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit ocalicreek's Homepage  Reply with Quote
"...however it will be the start of a future expansion into the next room once my son moves out, which will be soon."

Is that hopeful thinking or reality?

But seriously, thanks for sharing your thoughts in the design/redesign process. It is always fascinating to me to see the choices and compromises we all have to make in fitting 1:1 into a compressed space.


My Train Blog: http://ocalicreek.blogspot.com/

Country: USA | Posts: 684 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/12/2016 :  06:15:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I hope my son does not move out too soon, time moves way to fast and I enjoy him around, but he hopes to be out in the next few years, he has a good job and is saving up a ton of money for a house down payment.

summer seems to be fading fast, leaves have fallen along with the temps, today it is cold and raining. I put away the summer house projects and took the Nova for the what might have been the last drive. I did not put too many miles on the car this summer, I had wedding after wedding to attend, including my own daughters. However, with all that going on we finished the truck and brought both the 49 truck and the 70 Nova to a car show at the Minnesota State Fair grounds.

Work ramped up but I think by thanksgiving I will be able to start the layout change, till then I am just tinkering with this caboose in the 15-20 minutes I have here and there. It might seem hardly worth working on anything with 15 minutes of free time but those 15 minutes have added up and I have painted a lot of little detail parts. I am going for the "full narrow gauge" treatment on this one and I am cramming everything I can think of in this little guy, totally fictional but fun.

here is the dry fitting of the details, which I am just playing around with placement, nothing is glued in place.

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Posted - 10/12/2016 :  08:48:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit Philip's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice Chevy's and modeling!


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Bill Uffelman

Posted - 10/12/2016 :  4:26:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good looking vehicles and model.

Bill Uffelman

Country: USA | Posts: 1105 Go to Top of Page

New Hire

Posted - 10/13/2016 :  04:21:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I thought I recalled that the restoration on the Chevy PU was for your Mom.

Is that why you lowered it?

Am I also remembering correctly that it is a 49. I had a 51 same Cab windows back in the 70's, in college, I drove it back and forth across the US from W.V. to Ohio to California and back to Ohio. Even made a replacement gas pedal linkage for it, on the interpretive coal forge at Harper's Ferry N H P, one morning where I was a exhibit design intern, back when Interns were paid a good salary.

I have been a professional designer /art director / movie set designer my entire career, and that hand made, and hand forged gas leda linkage is one of the things I am the most proud of making!

The blacksmith just said to keep it a secret, what I has forging, if the public asked, it was a "historical item".

Great fun, miss that Truck!

Great work on the Caboose!


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Posted - 10/13/2016 :  06:07:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
yes, the truck is a 1949. It was lowered because my mom is a hot rodder and wanted it like a street rod but still drivable.

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Premium Member

Posted - 10/13/2016 :  06:48:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice work on the plaid shirt.

Country: USA | Posts: 1546 Go to Top of Page

Arizona Dave

Premium Member

Posted - 10/13/2016 :  09:45:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Arizona Dave's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Really nice work. Love the details.

David Meek

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Neil M

Premium Member

Posted - 10/14/2016 :  08:34:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Your interior is great, I love all the wee details.

Thanks for telling us about your concept changes; it is really interesting to read about how the railway operated and how that changes your model.

Built a waterfront HO layout in Ireland http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=22161 but now making a start in On30 in Australia http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=52273

Country: Australia | Posts: 2502 Go to Top of Page

bror hultgren
Section Hand

Posted - 10/15/2016 :  10:42:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Love the paint on the '49. Would love to see a pic of the 'horses'.....hood up!

Edited by - bror hultgren on 10/15/2016 10:44:02 AM

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Posted - 10/15/2016 :  11:53:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice modeling. Love the truck.

It's only make-believe

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Posted - 10/17/2016 :  07:16:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks all. here you go, hoods up

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Posted - 11/24/2016 :  1:01:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
its been a while since I posted, and a lot has been going on....just not much to do with trains. However, I took this entire week off work and I "made stuff happen", lots of stuff.

first off, I finally got rid of my tendonitis and thought that I could go back to carving on the engine house, but then I came down with Bell's Palsy. You would think that having a paralyzed face would be no big deal but it made my eyesight in my right eye go blurry and I did not want to risk messing up the carving. besides, carving creates a lot of dust and with the ability to blink it really sucks to get dust in your eye. So without the ability to do anything I did a lot of planning and a lot of "what if" stuff.

this week my Bell's Palsy started to subside and it was perfect timing for my week vacation, so last Friday night the pry bars and the saws were flying on the layout.

while this next photo may just look like a hole in the wall it is really a lot more. this hole is the beginning of one thing and the end of another. It is the beginning of my new layout, one that will be the recreation of the Manns Creek Railway, and it is the end of what was the Slater Creek Railway. I came up with a way to convert my current SCRy into a pretty close (and compressed) version of the actual Manns Creek Railway.

My Slater Creek Railway was always based off the MC but I figured that since I had such a small layout room it would be better to build a fictional RR so I would not have to worry about how to fit in the prototype scenes, being fictional I could just lay track as I pleased. That picture of the hole in the wall is where a second track will come out from behind my furnace and enter onto a second deck that will be built above my current layout. What looks like a simple hole was the end result of four days of moving pipes, ducts, wires, and raising a ceiling. It also was the result of tearing out 2/3s of my current layout.

The layout will now have what are know as LDEs, or Layout Design Elements, all strung together with short sections of track. The LDEs will focus on important areas of the MC. The First LDE, which is getting close to being finished is the dump trestle. The dump trestle will be reused from my SCRy with no modification other than I can finally get rid of that tunnel right behind the engine house (no more switch lead in a tunnel.

The second LDE will be the switch back. on the MC the switch back was the first area that a train leaving Sewell (the dump trestle) would have had to "do something". a train going to Clifftop to Sewell would have been pushed caboose first up into the tail of the switch back and then just head to Clifftop locomotive first. However a train coming down from Clifftop (locomotive first) had to run around its train so it could travel from the switch back to Sewell locomotive first. I have photographic proof that I feel supports this theory. my feeling is there must have been a safety concern of a break away so locomotives were always on the down hill side. I have a suspicion that the real MC used gravity to get the locomotive on the other end of the train, but there was a run around just up the line from the switch back that could have also been used. since gravity never works well in models I moved the run around closer to my switch back. No trains coming down hill will have to stop their train and swap ends with the locomotive and caboose, which will be a nice way to add time to the travels.

The third LDE, and last will be the town of Clifftop. My Clifftop will be a track for track copy of the real thing with two exception, one, I will have to flip the Strip coal loading tipple to the other side of the mainline. If I left the tipple where it was on the prototype it will be between the operator and his train, and since I plan on making my tipple actually load coal I want the operator so have full view of it. The second exception will be the moving on one of the coal mines. I will have to put a turnout in just past the car shops to reach a mine that will be built out in front of my furnace closet.

I am pretty fired up to get things happening so stay tuned, I want to be building that upper deck by Christmas, and I want to get the track all laid on the lower lever before that happens. All ready in five days I tore out all that old layout, moved all those utilities and installed all the sub roadbed for the lower level, now I am just waiting for my order of flex track to arrive so I can lay track around the back of the furnace.

here is the new switch back LDE area. My SCRy switch back was located here, and actually I was able to reuse the roadbed (with the ties on it, which means that the turnout here is already built, but I have to reinstall it). The view here will continue with my "standing on the mountain side" view to keep the operator standing on the side of the shay that has all the action. so scenery here will fall back to the backdrop. A new backdrop will be installed about 4" away from the original backdrop so I can install steel upper level supports. I already like this area, it is up high and in your face, which will make operating the Sergent couplers (or if my new idea works out, link and pins) much easier.

this next photo is just staged for the fun of it because all the locomotive on the MC faced to the right.

once things are up and running I will start to reletter my SCRy equipment for Babcock Coal and Coke.

This post got long so time to get back to work.

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