Short Line Railroading

I live in the UK and many years ago managed to borrow Mixed Train Daily by Lucius Beebe from our local library. It had such an effect on my that I even
named our first cat 'Tweetsie'! I have spent many years making US Outline model railroads, most of which didn't get too far because they were too ambitious. Some 4 years ago I was in the US on business and my business partner booked us a trip on the Green Mountain Valley Railroad from bellows Falls to Chester and back. I was telling him about the book as it mirrored so much that I was seeing. On getting back to bellow Falls, we went into a bookshop and that bookshop had a 1st edition copy of Mixed Train Daily so naturally I bought it.
I am now in the process of designing my next HO railroad and would like to make it a short line like many of those in the book. I have 2 x 2-8-0 consolidations and 1 x 4-6-0 so I am OK for locos. What I am having trouble with is designing the depot track layout. I always seem to make it that little bit too comlicated.
Can anyone point me at an onlice source of actual or appropriate model track plans that could help me?
Can anyone offer some advice on what a depot would comprise?
Thanks in advance
David
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David Pennington wrote:

Some general thoughts I can offer!!
Basic needs (in order of importance). Siding, so that 'passenger operations' do not stop all other operation. Baggage spur. Team Track, for non-'spur available' incoming freight. Spur tracks to local industries.
It makes a big difference what space is available, and whether it is an 'End of Line' or Through location.
General recommendation: Lin Wescott's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation"
HTH
Chuck D.

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John Armstrong's "Track Planning for Realistic Operation". And, IIRC, Linn Westcott.
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LD wrote:

I was confidant about the name of the book, now that you mention John Armstrong, You are right. Still a good piece of reference material.
Chuck D.
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Very much so! Sorry if I gave the wrong impression. Everything written by Armstrong is as useful today as the day it was written.
Westcott wrote some good stuff in his time. His bench work book is probably still very useful.
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Having sold the book some years ago I have now re-ordered it. I have also downloaded a PDF from MR entitled Modelling (sorry Modeling) Narrow Gauge Railroads which has a nice trackplan of the Tweetsie in it. As I named our first cat Tweetsie after thrailroad, I will see what I can do with it.
I appreceiate that my space may be tight at 13 x 7' but that's what I have. My interchange withe the big road will just be a single track that comes from nowhere and goes to nowehere along one side - just to give the excuse of the existence.
I am finishing the insulation in the shed this weekend and will post some pictures on my cottage web site when I get going. If you are interested, we live in a small village in Suffolk UK and you can see some photos and the weather in eal time at http://www.onerosecottage.co.uk . David
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David Pennington wrote: [...]

There are lots of people who would like to have that much space. ;-)
Have fun!
wolf k.
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I wish I had that much space. I suggest that you go with an around the walls layout. Start with an interchange on one side of the door. I once modeled an interchange with 2 inches of class 1 track that cut across the corner of the layout. Just enough to be there. A nonfunctional turnout with a curved track ran off the layout, and was aimed in such a way as to apear that it would intersect the class 1 RR at some point off the edje of the layout. An interlocking tower completed the scene. In opperation, "The hand of God" would remove the setouts and replace them with the pickups.
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This is probably the best time to bring this up. The best railroad design for your situation is one that goes around the walls rather than sitting in the middle of the room. You get a lot more running trackage and larger radius curves as well as a more spacey feeling as you are more rotating about the center of a railroad rather than walking around it. Putting up a valance and putting a bit of a shallow shelf above as well as drawers to store all kinds of things.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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Agree - also you cannot see all the layout at once. Once had a very small room to play with and considered a narrow shelf line representing the NY elevated freight line, in N you would only need about 8-10 inches and the track would weave in between tall buildings. Never got built as I moved (again) but bought some suitable stock so one day . . .
Mike
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Basically you've got one train crew for the railroad. From there, all you will find you need are tracks to hold things, get from one place to the other and then turn things around. Anything more is a lot of expense for the railroad. Most of the railroads had interconnections to larger railroads so that is where you can do all of the big complex stuff that you just feel you have to have - it belongs to the big main track road and you will also need power for that road floating around. Small railroads are more of an exercise in scenery and buildings so have fun with them!
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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On Mon, 13 Apr 2009 11:46:50 +0100, "David Pennington"

I suggest that you contact your local historical society and find out who the experts on the local short lines are. Don't worry. There will be plenty of documentation about on virtually any railroad. Acquire all you can and read about your subject until you're sick of it. Make an imaginary track plan of the real thing and block diagram each functional area. After that, scale it down to fit your actual area.
It sounds complicated but it's easier than trying to do it in reverse. A model railway almost never has that real feel unless it comes from real life even in small ways. When you go through the steps of modeling a real railroad in miniature, you will have something of endless fascination. Make sure you leave some unused space on the layout where you can add features that the prototype would have had if they had the ability to build it in miniature like you do.
Go here: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?bi=0&bx=off&ds0&kn=short+line+railroad&sortby=2&sts=t&x=0&y=0 Or: http://tinyurl.com/dlfdmh for a listing of over 1000 books on short line railroads available worldwide. If you can't find one there that suits your interest, go back to watching The Bill. Just kidding. I love The Bill.
Above all, have fun. -- Ray
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The complexity of the depot would totally depend on the amount of people or freight moved by the railroad, and it's location. A very simple rural depot would simply be a passing siding along a station. You can add a stub end spur to either end of the passing siding for a place to drop freight cars (team track or freight house). That is about as simple as it needs to be. Anything else, and you are adding complexity.
You can find track plans on-line by Googling "track plans" or "layout plans"
At the risk of apearing to spam the group. I maintain a list of links on our club site. Go to www.PDXareaNtrak.org and click on Other Places. Scroll down that page to Other Modeler's Sites. There are several links in there to pages of track plans.
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Gordon wrote:

Also, look at Track Planning for Realistic Operation, by John Armstrong. (Kalmbach Publishing). Highly recommended. It will anser questions you didn't know you needed to ask. ;-)
Cheers,
wolf k.
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Is that the "Street Of Dreams" above and east of the Sandy River? :o)
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wrote:

Do you get "Narrow gauge and Short Line Gazette" in Great Britain?
It's an entire magazine dedicated to exactly those subjects, and has featured dozens of prototype *and* model track-plans over the years.

I live in a small town that once featured both Santa Fe and Southern Pacific branch lines, and both station's track layouts were quite similar. The "main lines" passed in front of the station and there were also a couple of spurs -at least one with a with loading dock- that abutted the passenger plarform at one end. These spurs were dedicated to LCL and express use.
As built, there were runaround tracks in front of both stations, but later on these were removed simply because there was never more than one train on the line at a time, so a train pausing at the station couldn't "block the line" for anyone else.
There were of course various other sidings in town that serviced a number of businesses -around 28 as late as the 1950s- but the station layouts thermselves were almost starkly simple.
Another entertaining example of short-line/branch-line operation was that neither railroad bothered to invest in either a turntable or a turning "Y" at the end of the branch, so the locos always came into town facing forwards and then reversed all the way back to their points of origin; about ten miles west.
Both S.P. and S.F. kept functional run around tracks in service right up until they ceased operation, so the locos always headed their trains rather than pushing them all the way home, but the sight of an old steam engine carefully backing out of town with both the engineer and fireman leaning 'way out to see around the tender added flavor to steam operations right up until the diesels took over. (Whereupon both railroads took to dispatching two units hooked up back-to-back. When the day's work was done the crew simply switched their base of operations to the cab of the other locomotive and went home in style; no doubt to the great relief of the engine crews...)
~Pete
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