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Discussion Starter #1
HO scale fantasy/historic memories railroad encompassing many locations in Halifax, Dartmouth and surrounding areas that are no longer around but fondly remembered. Benchwork finished this week and plywood is now installed all around.
547860
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Mark,

I will for sure, it will just be a much slower build than some of the more experienced.....lol
 

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Would love to hear some feedback on the track plans that I am looking at building towards, ideally, I want to have a 5 siding into a train station is the must have on one side of the layout, and double main. Elevations I am weary about for sure.

Thoughts ?

547869


Left hand side of layout

547870
U
Or

547871
 

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Would love to hear some feedback on the track plans that I am looking at building towards, ideally, I want to have a 5 siding into a train station is the must have on one side of the layout, and double main. Elevations I am weary about for sure.

Thoughts ?

View attachment 547869

Left hand side of layout

View attachment 547870 U
Or

View attachment 547871

BigGRacing;

Any of those would work. However, all of them have track everywhere, and not much room for anything else. It depends on what you want,to represent from the history of the places you mentioned. I'm a yank who doesn't know much about Canadian geography, but I know that many WWII convoys left from Halifax to sail to England. That possibly means that Halifax is, or was, a major seaport. Is that something that you want to represent on your layout?

There are several different approaches to designing a model railroad. Most new modelers do what you apparently have in mind, pick a published track plan, and build it. Some combine features from two, or more plans. I did this on some of my early layouts.

For my present model railroad (my 7th) I took a different approach altogether. I started with a "prototype". That is a particular real life railroad that I wanted to model.
Since I like electrified railroads, that narrowed down potential American prototypes considerably. While most European, and Asian, railways are electrified, very few U.S. railroads used electric locomotives and overhead wire. One that did was the Milwaukee Road.

I wanted to portray passenger operations from a big city station. I also wanted mountainous scenery, and a harbor. Now each one of those things, reduced to your HO-scale, or even to my N-scale, would fill a huge area. So I had to do a lot of "creative cheating" as far as representing them.
Seattle, Washington had the type of station I wanted, and yet it had only six main tracks, and they were stub tracks with turnouts at one end, and a bumper at the other. Seattle Union Station was a true "terminal." Trains stopped there, and then went back, but did not continue their runs through the station, and on to another destination. It was literally the end of the line. That made modeling the station and it's yard, more practical.
Seattle is also a major seaport, and the surrounding countryside is quite mountainous. In short, Seattle was close to ideal for what I wanted to portray. So now I had a particular railroad to model, and a location to represent. The real challenge has been to fit even a tiny portion of that into the wall area of my garage that I have available. If you're curious, you can see a track plan of my railroad in the "Layout Design" section of this forum. It's inside a thread called "Here are the layouts of some club members."

There is nothing "right" or "wrong" about either of these different approaches. One is more realistic than the other, but you mentioned "fantasy" which may mean that you're not too concerned about realism. That's quite OK. It's your railroad, and you can build it anyway you like.

The first photo shows a particularly shallow section of my railroad. Its only 8" deep at the bottom and 16" at the top, but the backdrop and scenery combine to make it look like it goes on for miles. (You might consider using backdrops or hills, to divide your layout into separate "scenes" so that the train isn't so obviously going round and round in circles.) The next few photos show my scratchbuilt model of Seattle Union Station, and some of the other structures on my railroad.

Good Luck & Have Fun!

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Traction fan, thank you for the great tips. Parts of the seaport will be on both sides of my layout for sure. I want a little bit of both running a couple of trains and some switching. The double mainline is important as it used to run around the harbour and ran by my old school.
Accurate / close to prototype buildings will be most important after that.
 

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I like the last layout.
You could even add a bunch more harbor to the left of the layout.
Room for some vessels sitting docked?
A foot or two, make it a lift out in case you need to get back there to fix something.
 
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My favorite model layout activity is switching. After a while just watching trains go
around gets a little boring. But if you have a lot of freight users on sidings and
at least one good yard you can spend hours moving cars about. It's especially
interesting if you set up a car card set...a card for each car in your fleet. Then using
Post It notes attached to each car card you are told what is to be done with that car...what industry...what train.
This is even more fun if you have family or friends who can do the card set ups.

Don
 

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Traction fan, thank you for the great tips. Parts of the seaport will be on both sides of my layout for sure. I want a little bit of both running a couple of trains and some switching. The double mainline is important as it used to run around the harbour and ran by my old school.
Accurate / close to prototype buildings will be most important after that.
BigRacing;

I saw your post above, with the three track plans, before I saw your introductory post with a photo of Halifax harbor. Based on that photo, I would agree with Big Ed's choice of the third layout, if I had to pick one from only among those three. Simply because it has more water near the middle, and therefore is slightly closer to what your photo of the Halifax harbor shows. However, it sounds like you have some specific prototype features that you want to represent in model form. To do that, I suggest you try to duplicate as much of the trackage around the real harbor as practical. That likely will mean drawing your own track plan, rather than copying a published one, since it will look more like Halifax than any of the three plans you posted.

Accurate prototype structures usually need to be scratchbuilt, since it's not likely that any manufacturer had expensive molds made of some prototype Halifax harbor structures in hopes of selling hundreds of models of them! :D If you're willing to settle for a generic warehouse model, that you can paint and letter like one that once stood in Halifax, that's probably more practical than scratchbuilding everything. Design Preservation Models (Now part of Woodland Scenics) makes brick warehouse, and factory, structure kits that are well detailed, easy to assemble, and lend themselves to kitbashing into other structures. My model of Seattle Union Station uses kitbashed parts from a DPM warehouse and a furniture factory to form the longer side walls. The rest of it is scratchbuilt, since no commercial model of Seattle Union Station is available. The same is true for most of the models in my photos. DPM also made some generic structure modular sections that could be assembled into any shape, or size, building you wanted. I don't know whether or not these are still available since Woodland scenics bought Design Preservation Models.

Harbors are a natural place to do some switching, as long as the piers, and warehouses, are rail-served. Why wouldn't they be? 😊
One very difficult to duplicate, but essential, feature of harbors, is the ships themselves. An HO-scale model of even a small coastal freighter would be over six (real) feet long! Few of us have that kind of room. There is a commercial printed backdrop called "the docks", that might help you. Another idea that might "fit right in" (pun intended) your harbor would be a ship model on a rolling cart that could be "docked" in the center aisle of your 'C'-shaped layout. If you needed more room in there, the ship could simply "sail out of port."
I don't know if Halifax had any rail float/ferry service, but Seattle did. The Milwaukee Road owned tugs, and rail floats, that operated between Seattle & Port Townsend, Washington, for years. The tugboat, and the little track maintenance shed, are the only two commercial models in my photos above. All the other models are scratchbuilt, including the rail float the tug is hauling. It started life as a 1x4 piece of lumber. The two commercial models were super-detailed.

Have Fun!

Traction Fan 🙂

P.S. The files below are some I wrote for new modelers. A good deal of the information in them promotes shelf layouts (my favorite kind) and will not directly apply to the shape layout you have, but look through them if you like. You may find some information that will help you.
 

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Traction fan, thank you for the great tips. Parts of the seaport will be on both sides of my layout for sure. I want a little bit of both running a couple of trains and some switching. The double mainline is important as it used to run around the harbour and ran by my old school.
Accurate / close to prototype buildings will be most important after that.

BigGRacing;

I lost a post reply, and I think it was from you. It was simply a thank you for some information that I sent, but it mentioned "staying up all night" and serious concern abot changing things on your layout because of the information I had sent. Does that sound like something you said?

Traction Fan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey Traction Fan, it was my other post that I sent you directly asking about your benchwork and any photos you have. You gave me pause for sure but no harm done.....lol, regarding my track plan. I have reconsidered from a few people, but changing for more prototypical would mean the loss of using the tunnels that my friend bought for me......such hard decisions but after more thought, I have come up with a better prototypical point to point concept I am considering.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am now looking at building prototype areas from bottom left train station to bottom right of map wharves to the roundhouse area at the top of this map. It was a real rail line at this point in time before the Halifax Explosion. Compared to trying to copy an excellent layout by another individual from here in Nova Scotia.
547986


Instead of

547988
 

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Hey Traction Fan, it was my other post that I sent you directly asking about your benchwork and any photos you have. You gave me pause for sure but no harm done.....lol, regarding my track plan. I have reconsidered from a few people, but changing for more prototypical would mean the loss of using the tunnels that my friend bought for me......such hard decisions but after more thought, I have come up with a better prototypical point to point concept I am considering.
BiGRacing;

I'm glad to hear I didn't cause you pain & suffering. 😄 I wrote those files to help people, not make things more difficult. From what I've seen of your plan, It looks quite good as far as the general concept. The degree to which you do or don't hue closer to the prototype is up to you, like everything else on your layout. I don't know if you have considered having a hidden staging yard to feed the visible trackage in the harbor. It can be disguised as a tunnel, but doesn't need to be. My own staging yard's entrances are disguised as a tunnel at one end, and an underpass at the other end. Both existed on my prototype but not in the same locations as on my model. It's quite impractical to duplicate the prototype exactly. We have to choose which things are most important to us, and leave out a lot of other things for lack of space. I'm confident that you will figure out what to do. If there's anything I can do to help you, let me know.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sub Roadbed complete and a bit more track down, will see how it looks and runs before finalizing the track plan.....long winding process
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The Connaught tunnels are looking good after the first coat, will have to get some of those charcoal dusts to get some soot weathering done up.
 

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Regarding the pic in #15 above...

The curves on the right... why so tight?
The room is there, make them "broader" (greater radius).

Same for the "far end" on the right, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey J Albert, you are right, eventually I do want some broader curves with flex track, all I have right now is 18” radius tracks from old IHC train sets. Priority was to get a bench built, now I will start slowly picking up some tracks and turnouts.
 
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