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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don’t know how many folks name their layouts. I’ve spent some years trying to figure a good one for my current layout (20 years in the making/planning), and I am open to suggestions.

But let me back up a second. “Why name a layout?” Is a question some may be asking?
To put it simply, the right name can establish the where, what, and when in just a few words. It can be intentionally vague, or very specific, prototype based, or based on something else (geographical, historical event, etc).
For example; I’ve had layouts named “Michigan & Elsewhere” and “Valley Steam.” Those establish the where more or less. (Also, feel free to adopt those names if you like).

Back to now: As many may know I model Northwest PA during the peak of the 2nd oil embargo (or 2nd wave if you consider them one embargo) in, specifically, Thanksgiving week of 1978. Yes I went very precise on the time frame. The proto-freelanced company, Oil Valley, is actually a geo-economic region akin to the rust belt but I don’t think many people know this factoid. So I’ve ruled that out as establishing the where for 99% of folks. Similarly, using “black magic” is a term people don’t associate with crude oil anymore, so I’ve ruled that out… although it didn’t occur to me until just now of incorporating crude black magic.
I had considered the name “Pennsylvania’s Embargo Busters” but while it clearly pinpoints where, what & when, it doesn’t roll off the tongue very well, ya know? Say it out loud a few times and you’ll realize it’s flirting with tongue twisting.

Anyway, I’ve been coming up short on ideas for a layout name that establishes the where, when, and/or what of the operation. I’d like some suggestions, ideas, and general help from forum members in deciding a name.

If it helps, the two major industries are both refineries, predominant traffic are hazmat trains (crude, gasoline, diesel, coke, etc), the company’s marketing slogan is “harder, faster, & heavier,” and power is EMD, GE, and Alco. Again, 1978.

Thanks in advance. I’m looking forward to ideas from outside my mental box.
 

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I call mine the 'Sacrifice Division of the B&O Railroad'. It kind of developed from a terrain piece I made to fill an exposed corner of the layout.
 

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I call mine what it is: the Connecticut Valley Railroad.
 

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About the reason to name a layout, I think alot of it is just so you don't have to call it "my layout," which seems, well, so uncreative. But I love the names people pick for their layouts = just a lot of fun. Mine layout and its little town is called San Bettadaise - (seen better days). That won out over my number two choice, the Lackamoola and Busted Flats RR.
 

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I don’t know how many folks name their layouts. I’ve spent some years trying to figure a good one for my current layout (20 years in the making/planning), and I am open to suggestions.

But let me back up a second. “Why name a layout?” Is a question some may be asking?
To put it simply, the right name can establish the where, what, and when in just a few words. It can be intentionally vague, or very specific, prototype based, or based on something else (geographical, historical event, etc).
For example; I’ve had layouts named “Michigan & Elsewhere” and “Valley Steam.” Those establish the where more or less. (Also, feel free to adopt those names if you like).

Back to now: As many may know I model Northwest PA during the peak of the 2nd oil embargo (or 2nd wave if you consider them one embargo) in, specifically, Thanksgiving week of 1978. Yes I went very precise on the time frame. The proto-freelanced company, Oil Valley, is actually a geo-economic region akin to the rust belt but I don’t think many people know this factoid. So I’ve ruled that out as establishing the where for 99% of folks. Similarly, using “black magic” is a term people don’t associate with crude oil anymore, so I’ve ruled that out… although it didn’t occur to me until just now of incorporating crude black magic.
I had considered the name “Pennsylvania’s Embargo Busters” but while it clearly pinpoints where, what & when, it doesn’t roll off the tongue very well, ya know? Say it out loud a few times and you’ll realize it’s flirting with tongue twisting.

Anyway, I’ve been coming up short on ideas for a layout name that establishes the where, when, and/or what of the operation. I’d like some suggestions, ideas, and general help from forum members in deciding a name.

If it helps, the two major industries are both refineries, predominant traffic are hazmat trains (crude, gasoline, diesel, coke, etc), the company’s marketing slogan is “harder, faster, & heavier,” and power is EMD, GE, and Alco. Again, 1978.

Thanks in advance. I’m looking forward to ideas from outside my mental box.
I did some research and, you probably know this, there is an Oil City and Oil Creek in western PA. You could go with Oil City and Western Pennsylvania RR. That's my best shot. :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did some research and, you probably know this, there is an Oil City and Oil Creek in western PA. You could go with Oil City and Western Pennsylvania RR. That's my best shot. :unsure:
That’s actually the heart of my layout.

I guess what I really need assistance & suggestions about is the when being established. The embargo with Iran is all I can think of to indicate the time frame. And “oil embargo” is the only term I’ve seen referring to it. Were there any slang terms used, or did Cronkite coin any phrases or monikers for it?
 

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I don't have a name for my layout, but I do name things on the layout after family.

Here is a real estate sale with my sister-in-law
White Window Building Shorts Neighbourhood


Here is the entrance to Canman yards named after my brother-in-law who is a RR engineer and is nicknamed TheCanMan because he recycles aluminum cans.
Vehicle Motor vehicle Wheel Building Window

Plant Terrestrial plant Grass Font Grass family


Here is an aquarium named after my daughter for all of her aquarium cars.
Building Transport hub Rolling stock Track Window


And here is NATRON supply. My son and I built this kit together so it is named after him and I. Nate and Ron.

Automotive parking light Tire Car Wheel Land vehicle


I'm working on a garden center and that will be named after my Wife. She is a master gardener.
Have Fun!
Ron
 

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That’s actually the heart of my layout.

I guess what I really need assistance & suggestions about is the when being established. The embargo with Iran is all I can think of to indicate the time frame. And “oil embargo” is the only term I’ve seen referring to it. Were there any slang terms used, or did Cronkite coin any phrases or monikers for it?
I feel that you are overthinking "the when" the railroad was established. I seriously doubt that any railroad began as a result of the '73 and '78-79 embargos so I think you have to abandon that aspect. The railroads existed prior to the embargos so don't fixate on it, or as we said, back in the day in New York City,
Forgeddabout it".
 

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Try the Titusville 4G Railway. The first oil wells in the country were in Titusville, PA in 1859. 4 generations later would be about 120 years, making it late 1970s. I think most people today would understand the abbreviation 4G for 4th generation, though they may not know that the generation is actually a period of 33 years.

BTW, I have never heard the term black magic for oil, but it is called black gold a lot in Texas. And, of course, The Ballad of Jed Clampett called it Texas Tea also.
 

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I think you hit the nail on the head with "Oil Valley Railway"....adding a favorite first or family name to the beginning would personalize it.
I have seen Railroads named after point to point towns, state boat shipping harbors, County Valleys, and Industries.
The trouble you get into when you name your railroad is designing a logo and incorporating it into locomotives and train cars. I suppose half the fun, for some of us, is decorating un-named locomotives and rolling stock with your very own created railway logo!
Like Ron, I too have named businesses with relatives names along the Santa Fe's line from Chicago to New Mexico,
Calling my rendition anything other than the Santa Fe "Big L" would take away from trying to mimic my take of the Railroad already established.
 

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Ours is the Bedford & Wisconsin Eastern Railway....That Life-Like Bedford Blinking Water Tower (which is all that's left from the original Train Set) made it easy for the kids to name the old layout. So now we have moved and I'll stick with the same name, just to keep it in the Family..LMAO!! I like Petroleum & Penn Valley Railway..Oil Valley RR works just fine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, I guess there’s confusion of what I was asking.

I’m looking to name the actual layout, not the railroad company etc. From my experience the top two questions people have (especially those with scant RR knowledge) is “what time period is this layout supposed to represent?” And “where is this setting (geographically)?”
I read an article somewhere decades ago where, like a railroad serves a purpose, so to can a name for a layout.
The Oil Valley Railway company was formed in 1970 as a result of the Penn Central bankruptcy and selling assets; and reads like a crime novel involving corrupt executives, a shell company, federal agents, private jets bound for Mexico, Switzerland and elsewhere, and eventually, extradition and prison sentences. But to clarify, that revolved around two Penn Central employees, regarding the transfer of assets from the PC to their own shell corporation for virtually nothing, the criminal activity did not involve the parties that jointly purchased the line from the shell company in order to create the OVR. It’s not exactly a Clive Cussler novel, but I wanted to use my non-hobby skills in the making of the OVR.
But that’s a story for a different day. I’m trying to name the layout representation that indicates time & place.

Small note; black gold is a much more common term, yes. That term came to be during the oil boom in Texas. Earlier, actually before and around the time Drake’s Well was drilled, the term black magic was used in slang. It came to be due to the “magical” properties crude Pennsylvania oil had over things like whale oil, etc. The term fell out of use when most production shifted to Texas and So Cal. To this day though PA oil is in a class of its own, literally. There’s Sweet Crude, Sour Crude, and Pennsylvania Crude (determined by impurity levels).

Back to the time/place name… If I could work in “the Shah” somehow, not “siphoning the Shah” but along those lines, that’d unmistakably broadcast the layout is 1978-1980 era. It’s kind of tricky, like marketing a product.
 

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If my understanding is correct, your theme for the layout name is Iran's hostility toward the USA and as a result, the oil embargo in 1978-79 and possibly the hostage crisis. I remember that era very well and my suggestion would be the Ayatollah, Assaholah and Embargo Central. ;)
 

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I don’t know how many folks name their layouts. I’ve spent some years trying to figure a good one for my current layout (20 years in the making/planning), and I am open to suggestions.

But let me back up a second. “Why name a layout?” Is a question some may be asking?
To put it simply, the right name can establish the where, what, and when in just a few words. It can be intentionally vague, or very specific, prototype based, or based on something else (geographical, historical event, etc).
For example; I’ve had layouts named “Michigan & Elsewhere” and “Valley Steam.” Those establish the where more or less. (Also, feel free to adopt those names if you like).

Back to now: As many may know I model Northwest PA during the peak of the 2nd oil embargo (or 2nd wave if you consider them one embargo) in, specifically, Thanksgiving week of 1978. Yes I went very precise on the time frame. The proto-freelanced company, Oil Valley, is actually a geo-economic region akin to the rust belt but I don’t think many people know this factoid. So I’ve ruled that out as establishing the where for 99% of folks. Similarly, using “black magic” is a term people don’t associate with crude oil anymore, so I’ve ruled that out… although it didn’t occur to me until just now of incorporating crude black magic.
I had considered the name “Pennsylvania’s Embargo Busters” but while it clearly pinpoints where, what & when, it doesn’t roll off the tongue very well, ya know? Say it out loud a few times and you’ll realize it’s flirting with tongue twisting.

Anyway, I’ve been coming up short on ideas for a layout name that establishes the where, when, and/or what of the operation. I’d like some suggestions, ideas, and general help from forum members in deciding a name.

If it helps, the two major industries are both refineries, predominant traffic are hazmat trains (crude, gasoline, diesel, coke, etc), the company’s marketing slogan is “harder, faster, & heavier,” and power is EMD, GE, and Alco. Again, 1978.

Thanks in advance. I’m looking forward to ideas from outside my mental box.
Mine's just one of those prototype-based layouts. Its set in Seattle in the 1920s or 1950s. I change eras by changing out signs (they're magnetic) and automobiles. The figures work out OK. Men's fashions (suits, ties & hats) were close enough and except for the 1920s "Flappers" with their short skirts, women's hemlines & general attire were similar. in the two eras.

My railroads are the Milwaukee Road, Union Pacific, Great Northern, & Northern Pacific.
I can get away with this plethora of road names since their real life passenger terminals were right across a street from each other. Models of the actual stations, plus the Sears Roebuck mail order building, and backdrop representations of Smith Tower, and the King County courthouse, help to indicate the Seattle locale.

There was also a local coal hauler called the Pacific Coast Railway. Its tracks gave the MILW. & UP access to Seattle. In my model world, the GN and the NP used the Pacific Coast's tracks too. (I don't have room for the multiple, parallel, tracks that these competitors actually used.)

My only attempt at a combined name for the layout was "The Pacific Coast Railways" With the added 's' supposedly encompassing all the various road names. Not very imaginative, I know :sneaky: but its all I could come up with to fit the situation.

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If my understanding is correct, your theme for the layout name is Iran's hostility toward the USA and as a result, the oil embargo in 1978-79 and possibly the hostage crisis. I remember that era very well and my suggestion would be the Ayatollah, Assaholah and Embargo Central. ;)
That’s the era yeah. One mention of the Iran situation zeroes it all in. That was a tremendously rough decade from what I’ve learned (was too young then to grasp more than lollipops).

But you all have me thinking in different ways than I have previously.
Maybe something like “PA’s Shah-cking Solution”? Although spoken loses it’s clarity.
That’s going in the desired direction anyway. I’m avoiding using “crisis” because these days everything is labeled a crisis.
 
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