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Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  11:42:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tom Johnson encouraged me to join here a few months ago, and I'm glad he did. I've enjoyed the forum, and especially like the long-running layout posts that allow you to follow along chronologically with progress. That "progress" is something that's been somewhat lacking on my own layout in recent months as I've been focused on upgrading the rolling stock roster and a few locomotives. However, I'm planning to get busy on the layout again, so I thought I'd start a post of my own, with photos in order from east to west (left to right on my layout) around the room. I'm including both model and a prototype photos to give you an idea of what I'm trying to recreate. Things are still very much under construction, so pretty much everything you see here is incomplete.

I always enjoy seeing others' layout plans, as it helps me to get a feel for the big picture, so here's mine. A few things have changed since this was created, mostly as the result of a recent push to make things as prototypical as possible. When I originally designed the layout, I included several industries that either hadn't used rail service since Rock Island days on the line, or that started up after the era I model. Getting started with frequent operating sessions, though, made me realize that I didn't need more customers in order to keep my crews busy. So, with the exception of Cass County Elevator (explained below), the only active customers on the layout are those that were active on the prototype in my era.

The double-ended staging yard serves both ends of the layout. It isn't much to look at, but here's where the mainline exits staging on the east end of the layout. The opening in the backdrop will eventually be disguised with the Hwy. 6/71 overpass. This end of staging, representing central Iowa and points east, is used by both IAIS trains and UP detours. The other end, out of view to the left, represents Omaha and points west on the UP, and is used exclusively by UP detours.

Curving to the left, we immediately enter Atlantic, Iowa.

The small yard seen in this 2010 prototype photo is used mostly for MOW during my 2005 era, but "1 track", where the gon is tied down, is still active.

Here's my attempt to replicate the above scene thus far. The former Rock Island depot, now the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, will be a pretty significant scratchbuilding challenge. The two overgrown tracks to the right are used exclusively for MOW cars.

Looking east at Atlantic. Fortunately, the property has been cleaned up a lot since this Mark Hall photo was taken in 1993. Cass County Elevator, to the right of the depot, was torn down in 1995-96, but I chose to model it in my 2005 setting since its replacement is located on the Atlantic Spur a couple miles north of town, so I don't have room to model it.

On the east end of Atlantic, looking north from the mainline, the Atlantic Spur (left) exits the main, and the Pellet Spur (right) diverges from the Atlantic Spur.

East of Atlantic Spur is Walnut Creek.

Curving to the right we pass Hancock Elevator on our way to Hillis siding, seen behind the elevator to the right.

Here's a prototype view of the elevator.

Looking west from the elevator we see the main and Hillis siding on the left. The Outside and Pocket tracks, both full of empty covered hoppers waiting to be spotted to the elevator, drop down the hill from the main. The Oakland branch, passing to the left of the covered hoppers, is now used exclusively for car storage.

Here's a prototype view of an IAIS local dropping down from the main on the Outside track.

...and one taken from the top of the hill at Hancock Jct. On the prototype, Hillis siding is about three miles in the distance in this photo, but I had to compress the two due to space limitations.

Hancock Jct. and the future location of the West Nishnabotna River bridge.

Looking west at McClelland and the out-of-service McClelland Feed & Grain spur. The classic car show has left town since this photo was taken. :-)

Rolling hills west of McClelland.

Future locations of the bridges over McPherson Ave. (lower left) and Valley View Drive. On the right is the fill leading up to the Harry Langdon Blvd. overpass. The rise in the fascia is the future location of the I-80 bridges. To the far right you can see trailers parked at the east end of the Bluffs Yard intermodal facility.

Prototype view of the main portion of Bluffs yard looking east. The BNSF interchange, main, and 2 tracks are to the right of the containers.

Bluffs yard.

Looking west from the west end of Bluffs yard, showing the BNSF main (passing left-to-right through the photo), CBEC/CBGR (pink ballast paralleling the IAIS), and BNSF KC yard west lead (passing in front of the green truck tractor). In the distance, a string of tank cars destined for Searle Petroleum is tied down on the Steel Dock track, used for Searle storage. To the right is the east end of UP's Pool Yard.

Prototype view looking west at UP's Pool Yard.

Looking east at the Steel Dock track and the UP's 12th St. Line crossing. The pink-ballasted line leading away from the main and crossing the aisle is based on the prototype's lead to the north Pool Yard tracks, seen to the right in the prototype photo above. I'm using that track to instead connect to the west end of my shared staging yard.

Looking west at UP's Pool Yard. The IAIS Bluffs switch job runs over to this yard 2-3 times a day to interchange with the UP.

Hopefully I haven't bored you all to tears with everything I've packed into this one post. I'll be sure to limit future posts to progress updates. Given the pace at which I work, those promise to be very brief.

Modeling Iowa Interstate's West End, May 2005

Country: USA | Posts: 206

Red P
Crew Chief

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  1:21:55 PM  Show Profile  Send Red P a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Glad, you made it over.
Im glad to see your pictures, you do good work. Im looking forward to seeing more of it.


Country: USA | Posts: 978 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/17/2011 :  2:10:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice photos and it's nice to see both the proto and models after one another.
Nice layout room and modeling too.

Dave Mason
D&G RR (Dunstead & Granford) in On30
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”~Benjamin Franklin
The 2nd Amendment, America’s 1st Homeland Security

Country: USA | Posts: 5525 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/17/2011 :  2:18:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Looks pretty darn good to me. You are certainly capturing the spirit of the prototype photos in the towns your modeling. The grain elevator, the yard scene and the Atlantic spur in Atlantic sure look like the real thing. I like what you have done with your undulating track. Nice job! Look forward to more.

Bill Shanaman
Superintendent, Chief Track Cleaner,
New Haven RR in the 1948 to 1952 era
PMRA President 2014-15, OpSIG Member
NCE User Since 1999
Sugar City, Colorado

Country: USA | Posts: 4241 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  2:24:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice looking railroad. Great job on the selective compression, especially on the grain elevators. At least modeling western Iowa, you shouldn't have to worry about any significant mainline grades. The picture at Atlantic of the train with five different color scheme locos is classic for the IAIS in that era.


Edited by - Zephyrus52246 on 10/17/2011 2:28:11 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 270 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  3:10:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Great to see you started a thread! I'm excited to follow along with your progress. The layout is looking great!!


Modeling The Wisconsin Northern Railroad
"The Weyerhaeuser Route"

Country: USA | Posts: 130 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  6:06:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very nice! I live in Iowa City and see IAIS trains every day, usually parked right behind my dentist's office just a few blocks from where I live. I debated proto-ing my local area, but opted instead to go for the spot in Missouri using MoPac steam where I vacation, just for sentimental reasons, but it's great to see my 'locals' on a layout!
Gonna have to check back here often for updates!

Country: USA | Posts: 119 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  6:21:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you all for the encouragement. Except for a couple "false starts" that didn't get much past the benchwork phase, this is my first layout, so I've got a lot to learn. As you can tell, scenery is a particular struggle for me, but I built a static grass applicator, and I'm not afraid to use it. Well, maybe a little afraid... The semi-gloss grey painted roads are just a temporary measure. I did that in preparation for a couple of big operating session weekends last May and June so operators would know the road locations when making cuts, blowing for crossings, etc. All the ground foam - my first-ever scenery attempt - went down in about a week leading up to the first session. It was fun! I'm looking forward to spending more time on scenery and structures in the coming weeks.

Originally posted by Zephyrus52246
The picture at Atlantic of the train with five different color scheme locos is classic for the IAIS in that era.

Definitely. The employees and a lot of fans like today's IAIS better, with new power and matching consists (except for the RI heritage unit), but one of the big reasons for me choosing to model 2005 was that a lot of the old power was still operating alongside the newer GP38-2s and SD38-2s. I like the contrast, and I really enjoy modeling rusty old rebuilds and beat up covered hoppers.

Modeling Iowa Interstate's West End, May 2005

Country: USA | Posts: 206 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  7:27:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome Joe..Happy to see you aboard.

I like that weed covered yard track.

Country: USA | Posts: 6979 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  8:46:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Glad you made the trek over, Joe.

You have sure made some nice progress on your layout and you have a "plan", which certainly looks good.

I agree that layout & proto pics are a nice touch.

Keep up the good work.


Ya Ain't Gotta Like It, Ya Just Gotta Do It!

Country: USA | Posts: 698 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/17/2011 :  9:40:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the kind words Larry and Mike. Good to see some familiar faces over here.

Modeling Iowa Interstate's West End, May 2005

Country: USA | Posts: 206 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 10/17/2011 :  10:59:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit MarkF's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Welcome Joe! Your layout looks great! I particularly like how you are modeling a prototype so faithfully, at least as space will allow. That is very difficult to do, but you have done it very well. I'll be looking foward to seeing your progress pics, and no, we aren't bored at all. The more layouts to look at here the better!


See my homepage at http://home.comcast.net/~prrndiv/

Country: USA | Posts: 10447 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/18/2011 :  06:08:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ollie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Looks very nice, and I am pleased to have another very interesting thread to follow!!!


Country: Sweden | Posts: 340 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/18/2011 :  08:23:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the welcome, Mark and Ollie. Good to be here. I just realized that, unlike the Atlas Forum, the "Subscribe" feature is active here. Nice! That makes life a lot easier.

Originally posted by MarkF

I particularly like how you are modeling a prototype so faithfully, at least as space will allow. That is very difficult to do...

Thanks Mark. Personally, I find that modeling a prototype's physical characteristics is much easier for me than freelancing or proto-freelancing. I just found a good prototype to fit my space and copied the tracks verbatim wherever possible, so there were no concerns about things operating prototypically when I was done. However, because of depth/reach considerations, both Bluffs and Atlantic yards had to be compressed. Both yards lost one bowl track, and Bluffs yard had two thru RIP tracks consolidated into one stub.

For me, the harder part of prototype modeling is in being faithful to the prototype chronologically, i.e. only modeling what was there during my era. Thanks to regular visits during my era and some very friendly IAIS employees, I've been blessed with a lot of information - too much, according to some. I've got complete records of all locomotive, car, trailer, container, and MOW moves during my era, and I base all my buying, building, and operations on those lists. I'm really thankful for it all, but to really take full advantage of it, I have to be willing to "go where it leads me". In other words, following that information faithfully has meant doing without some customers (as mentioned in my overview above) and pieces of equipment I really like.

For example, in recent months I've decided to sideline a couple favorite units that, during my era, were stored on the Bluffs yard cleanout track, pending their sale. Also, my favorite locomotive of that timeframe, LLPX SD38-2 2809, with an intact Gyralight package front and rear, was on the IAIS during my era, but didn't visit the West End until about three months later. Just last Friday I finished reworking my model of that unit, renumbering and redetailing it, including the removal of those Gyralights I like so well, to instead model SD38-2 2802, a unit that did visit my end of the railroad.

Each of those decisions was really hard for me, but without exception, every time I saw them through, I was glad I did. The enjoyment of attempting to model a particular time and place as accurately as my space allows far outweighs the losses.

Modeling Iowa Interstate's West End, May 2005

Country: USA | Posts: 206 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/18/2011 :  09:36:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That is a huge under taking. I really do like seeing the before and after pictures when someone is building a layout. Please update often.



Country: USA | Posts: 237 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 10/18/2011 :  10:39:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I gotta add my praises for your layout.Specially liked your inclusion of the prototype photos.I hadn't realized the prototype used Floquils roof brown for their track and ties too.;) Bill in Idaho

Country: USA | Posts: 258 Go to Top of Page
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