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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all! I’m excited to share the beginnings of our model railroad. We finished our basement in December 2018 and the wife kindly allowed me to design a space for my hobby (how nice of her, right?) so after finishing the space, bench work started in April 2019. October 2019 saw our first track!

The room is slightly wonky, it’s a ~30ft long, 6.5 opening to 9ft wide. I designed a two deck railroad connected by a 3% grade. The layout itself is a large dog bone, with the two ends stacked above each other, essentially creating the illusion of a double track railroad ending in two “reversing loops”, one above the other.

Here are a few shots of the construction

Currently we are building the ramp from the upper to the lower out of spline. At the bottom of the ramp will be West Springfield, Ma yard. Under the spline is a 4 track stub end staging yard to supplement Springfield.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is the other end of the room with the two stacked loops. The lower level bench work is mostly complete. The upper level will be built as I get to it!

The lower level is the Eastern most part of the layout... Palmer Ma. Small interchange yard with the central Vermont and the iconic diamond over the main.

The upper level will be Pittsfield, Ma. Interchange with the Housatonic, another small yard, and a small city scene to hide the curve and return loop.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My scenes from West to East will be:

Upper loop Pittsfield
Up Grade to Hinsdale, Ma.
Down grade to Westfield, Mass
Pickup the spline down the grade into Springfield Ma, lower level.
Bridges over the Conn. river and a small Amtrak station.
Lower level loop at Palmer, Ma.

3% grade between the levels, slightly less on the upper level between Pittsfield and Westfield.

My motive power ranges from early transitional Conrail to the end of Conrail. My dad is quite the builder and painter and I’ve been blessed with a few gifts over the years... now it’s my turn to build a railroad to display them!

I’ll be sure to update more as we go. My two builders, Louis 4 and Hunter 2, break more than they build, but the memories are priceless!
 

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Great photos! Looks like your track crew is ready to go!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks! I’m sure many of you are lucky enough to share it with your kids, but for me, it’s extra special because I grew up the same way. My old man and I built 2 layouts at his house over the years and now it’s time to pass on the tradition! Exciting stuff.

Like I tell my wife - keeps me out of the bars and off the bike!
 

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I grew up in Springfield, MA. Brings back a lot of memories. I am familiar with the areas between Westfield and Palmer. Great job
on your benchwork. Look forward to more photos as you progress.
 

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OOPS, judging from the first photo, you need to lower the entire layout about 12";)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So decided AFTER laying the entire interlocking in West West Springfield that I totally dropped the ball in planning! I had intended on 7-8 tracks looping around the back wall as Springfield Yard. Well, that would make my inside radius like... 18in! Duh.

So I scaled back the main “yard” tracks to 5 (2 main, 3 yard) with a new interlocking to feed staging. I will now use staging track 1 as a feeder for a 2-3 track stub end yard on the left side to add additional storage / switching. I may keep it 2 tracks and add an industry.

Any insider knowledge as to yard industry in the 90s? Today there is a small intermodal yard. Maybe this will be the destination for all my intermodal???

Lou
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Question about laying the curves in the yard. My outside radius is 36 1/4 on track 1 and decreasing to 26 1/4 on track 5. Rather than making 5 big sweeping curves across the back, what if I reduced the outside radii to, say 30in each? Made tracks 1-3 all 30in radii. Does this do anything?

Here is a rough sketch of Springfield yard
 

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Trying to keep the radius the same on all parallel tracks isn't going to work out for you. The ends of each of the curves are going to cross one another
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Quick update.... moving forward to the east end of West Springfield yard. Also starting to take out some of my locomotives... seems most of my old blue box Athearns have broken axles. Also, I’ve learning how to speed step and consist smoothly. It’s hard to match stuff to these new LokSound engines with momentum, start up delays, etc. Fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The shinohara double crossovers are not necessarily DCC friendly. The ticket is to either figure out a way to isolate the 4 switches from each other, which is a total pain, or to have all 4 switches throw simultaneously. When they all throw together, you are fine.

Little progress report: The boys and I put together 4 of the Walthers single track truss bridges to simulate the Connecticut river crossing. In real life I think there’s like 8 bridges but 2 will have to do!

I also mounted up the bench work around the lower level for the return loop through Palmer. The tracks will disappear as they head toward the closet, loop along the back, and return to the left side under the road bridge in Palmer. Palmer station and a small Yard should fit, and of course the Palmer diamond

Enjoy
 

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That's coming along nicely!
I like those bridges! I have a Central Valley Model Works 200 ft. HO scale single track bridge I will be building to cross the gap between risers at the back of my layout.
I also kit-bashed a couple of Atlas truss bridges to cross a river. Next to them are Atlas deck bridges. This is one of the few things making the transition from the old layout to the new one.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Looking good! I’ve never built or scenic bridges, rivers etc so this will definitely be a learning curve!

We started construction on the lower level loop tracks and Palmer, Ma. For anyone not familiar with Palmer, it’s the interchange between Conrail and New England Central with a small yard and a beautiful station. The iconic item here is the main line diamond... up until about 1986 the mainline was double track and there were two Diamonds. In 86 Conrail stepped down to single track and the two mains come together just before the diamond. I’m using an Atlas diamond my 4 year old got for free from our last train show. He’s excited!

I’m attaching a picture of the day Conrail removed the 2nd diamond. I’m going to try and model this exact scene. If the station reminds you of a commercially available model, please let me know!!

C5D5B9F1-A70A-4486-8CF1-B1E4D8C2D8E1_1580480167625.jpg
 

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