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Discussion Starter #1
So my freelance railroad is based on a real railroad that I can find very limited information about. Or have found limited information so far. The name is the Chattanooga and Durham Railroad and it was a coal line that ran where I used to live on Lookout Mountain, Georgia. It was started in the late 1890's and closed long before I was born. I believe the last of the track was taken up sometime in the 50's. There was a little coal mine on the mountain and I believe the took the coal to coke ovens in Chickamauga, Georgia.

I can barely find any pictures and nothing to give a good idea of what the equipment they had. I don't even think I've found a picture of the mine. I'm going to include 2 links to the little info I have found. I know my grandfather worked in the mine but he passed before I was born and my grandmother has also passed tho she had very little info when I had asked in the past. If anyone knows anything about this little railroad or knows where I might find more info, feel free to let me know.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chattanooga_and_Durham_Railroad

https://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/5/8/275762/Chattanooga-Railroad-Series.aspx

So that aside, I'm gonna just freelance it and do what I want that's in my head. It's going to be on a hollow core door and based on the track plan for the Erie Railroad Mahoning Division HCD layout. If you google it there's a video, track plan in images and a blog on another forum about it's construction. I plan to put my hometown and mine on one side of the divider and represent Chattanooga on the other side.

The mine will run any steam or diesel from 1900 - maybe the 40's. The main will run steam or diesel from 1900 - 1960's and industry in Chattanooga with a little early switcher. That's not to say nothing else will ever run on it. I'm more interested in scenery and photos than in prototype running which is why I'm using this track plan for continuous running.

With the scenery, most everything on the mountain side will be old. There were (and still are) buildings from the 20's when I was a kid in the late 70's and 80's. There will be more buildings from the 50's and 60's on the Chattanooga side, but that's not to say there won't be some stuff from when I was a kid because it's just good memories and that's what the railroad will be for me. Like I have to somehow also show at least a small portion of the Tennessee River somewhere near Chattanooga with my dad fishing. (He passed 10yrs ago.)

So yeah, it's just gonna be for me and to jump back into the hobby after 5+ years away. I plan on using Kato Unitrack so I know the plan will have to be modified because I don't think they have a way to make that interchange on the one side. I'm also going with a new Digitrax Zephyr for DCC. Other than that, I have no clue as to what engines I should get, what rolling stock or anything yet.

I'm not sure if I'm going to name the mountain branch Chattanooga and Durham Railroad or just make up something. I can't find any logos for it so it would kind of be made up anyways. As far as what you could see in Chattanooga, I'm guessing Southern, Central of Georgia, L&N and who knows.

I'm sure there is a lot I'm leaving out. Just wanted to go ahead and hopefully start making some progress. I doubt actual construction begins until April as we are moving, but there's a train show in Atlanta in 3 weeks and I hope to be able to find some deals there if I figure out what all I want need. Any questions, feel free to ask. Offer suggestions, or just drop in to say hey.

Thanks!
 

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Sounds like you've got a good idea of what you want to do and it sounds interesting.

You might look for an railroad that operated in that area and use their locomotives, etc.,
that way you'll not need to repaint and decal for a little known RR.
Call your RR the Chattanooga and Durham Sub for the chosen RR.
For a smaller sub line the locos would be smaller units, 6 driver steam and 4 axle diesel.
Lots of those available. Just a suggestion.

Good luck with the build and have fun.
Keep us posted.

Magic
 

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You could check to see if the county in which the railroad was located has a Historical Society that might provide information. My county also has a Business & Industry historical site filled with photos and descriptions.

US Geological Survey site may also have information about the location of the old mine, and I'm almost certain the Bureau of Mines will have information on the location of the mine and maps too.

The county I'm from had so many coal mines most of the county is undermined.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Magic, I’ve seen 1 picture that had a “dinky” in it that was probably for the mine yard so I’m gonna get one of those for sure. One picture of a steam engine hauling coal but it was more a head on shot so not really sure what kind it was.

Michael, I didn’t even think about the historical society. Thanks for the tip!


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Discussion Starter #5
Still no engine but I did pick up some rolling stock today in Atlanta.



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Magic, I’ve seen 1 picture that had a “dinky” in it that was probably for the mine yard so I’m gonna get one of those for sure. One picture of a steam engine hauling coal but it was more a head on shot so not really sure what kind it was.

Michael, I didn’t even think about the historical society. Thanks for the tip!


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Did you run across this one?
Not much there, https://www.harpswitch.com/durham_railroad
 

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Dinky "carts".......they were the small wagons that went down in the mines to be loaded.
You must have seen them in movies that have mines in them?
Westerns had them, not really a RR car.
 

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They are also called mine carts right?
 

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But your right not many pictures on it.
Some old steam locomotives and coal cars would be about all you need. Maybe a few flat cars to go with your box car.

What they need is to be all dirty too.
Coal dust was nasty.
Plus the dirt/mud around the tracks while rolling up and down the mountain.
Dirty is up to you.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Did you run across this one?
Not much there, https://www.harpswitch.com/durham_railroad
I haven't seen this article but thanks for finding it! All those trestles! 2 steamers hauling the coal up and down and passenger service I didn't know about. Might not be much there but it was more than I had!
I knew the coke ovens had been restored but didn't realize there was a museum over there. May have to drive down there this weekend. Thanks again Big Ed!
 

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Made another purchase today. Picked up the Woodland Scenics town and factory set of eBay. It’s missing 2 buildings, but at $79 and free shipping I think I got a great deal. Comes out to $7.18 per building. The circled ones in the first pic are what is missing.



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Nice! That should keep you entertained for a day or two.


Thanks! Being delivered today. We’re moving in a little over a month so I don’t know if I want to start them but it’s gonna be hard not to!


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Discussion Starter #16
So I download Scarm. First time using it. Trying to recreate something close to this plan with Kato Unitrack. Not sure I’m doing it right.



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Whether you can do that plan with Unitrack or not depends on the geometry of the available Unitrack pieces.

If you didn't pay for SCARM yet, you might want to consider Anyrail instead. A much better (that is, user friendly) product, with better backing and customer support.
 

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Whether you can do that plan with Unitrack or not depends on the geometry of the available Unitrack pieces.

If you didn't pay for SCARM yet, you might want to consider Anyrail instead. A much better (that is, user friendly) product, with better backing and customer support.


If I’m not mistaken, the person who built it used Unitrack but had to mix in other track for that section. I was just gonna see how close I could get with full Unitrack as my track laying abilities aren’t that good. Hence my decision to use Unitrack to save myself some headaches.
I haven’t paid for any software yet. Just seeing what I can do on free versions right now. I check out the free version of Anyrail tho and try it out.


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I found when using SCARM, it was easiest to put down the ovals, then fill in the turnouts and sidings and crossings after I fit the oval mainlines to the baseboard.

If that is a 36 by 80 door, you can make a nice double-track mainline using 13 3/4 radius on the outside and 12 3/8 radius on the inside. That's a Kato M1 or M2 (12 3/8 oval), plus a Kato V6 (13 3/4 oval).

Those two ovals nest nicely, and you can connect them with a V7 double crossover rather using two turnouts.

Total cost -- Under 200 bucks and you are running trains.

Those Master and Variation are a good deal, and you generally can save versus purchasing individually. The V1 Passing Siding and the V3 Railyard are especially good because they include not only the turnouts, but also some straight track, plus turnout controllers, plus additional 28-inch radius curves for easements.

You can fit in another outer loop of 15 1/8 radius oval, but there's not a lot of room for scenery outside the oval, and no room for outside sidings.

One final note: Amazon is your friend for Kato Unitrack, especially those M and V packs. You usually save a bit over list, and you cannot beat that Prime delivery.

Link to Handy Kato Track Guide if you haven't found it already

And this Link to Kato N Scale Starter Guide gives you lists of all the components in the Master and Variation packs. Very handy for determining if the M or V pack saves money over purchasing items individually. It also has some possible track arrangements so you can get an idea of how much room certain permutations will take up.
 
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