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Thread: Northern Pacific's Connell Northern

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    Default Northern Pacific's Connell Northern

    Things are finally starting to move on my present plan so I figured it's time to start some sort of record of what's happened, what is happening and what will (hopefully) happen.

    A recent move saw the demise of The World's Worst Layout and the opportunity to realize a plan that, well, was a plan and not some sort of weird growth.

    The Connell Northern, Northern Pacific's Eighth Subdivision, Idaho Division, starts in Connell, Wash., and runs north to interchange with the GN main at Adrian. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the CN was a source of various farm products loads such as potatoes, onions, seed crops, grains, and sugar. As my space is limited, I've had to narrow down what I'd like to do and focus on what I can do.

    Three stations are modeled, and some - but not all - industries at each location are modeled. As much as possible, I've attempted to capture the layout of various sections of the three stations. Some areas, sadly, didn't have the space to see track laid out like the prototype.

    8th-Sub-Track-Plan.jpg

    The overall plan is 11 x 14, with varying width arms (from the top: 24", 18", 30") and a lift-out to allow continuous running and for other purposes.

    Connell, Wash., is the top arm. It has a small yard, the interchange between the main line between Pasco and Spokane, and a few industries. Track is somewhat close to the prototype, with the actual main line (between the yard lead and industry track), the UP's track, and a few other minor tracks missing. The lift bridge will stand in for track south of town so cars can go from the yard to industries and back. Why the N.P. chose to do this is unknown.

    The middle arm is Bruce, Wash. This was an N.P. industrial development site. Some tracks had to be rearranged for space but the main spur is, I think, reasonably captured on the middle peninsula.

    The bottom arm is the Wheeler/Scalley area, just east of Moses Lake, and home of the Utah-Idaho sugar beet plant. It is 30" wide but accessed from both sides. The bottom left section has industries but doesn't actually match the track layout... the top section of the arm is the track south out of Wheeler and fairly well done and the U-I plant has at least the flavor of the actual thing. Here, the lift bridge will stand in for storage tracks north of Wheeler, towards the Adrian interchange.

    The initial plan is to use a CNC router to cut out subroadbed and start building from the top arm around, down, and then finish off with the middle peninsula at Bruce. My hope is that this will allow things to line up fairly well.

    8th-Sub-Overview.jpg

    Progress won't be too fast over the next month or so but I have hopes for an increase in pace as fall arrives.

    -Sam

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  3. #2
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    Would it be possible to move the switch on the lift out, onto the layout, without destroying the integrity of the prototype? You could then, center the track on the bridge, gaining a bit of safety margin around the it.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
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    I can't help but feel like it's a bit of a waste to have one end of a double-laddered yard lead to a dead end. If it were me at least, I'd try and fit in a hidden track leading to staging at the very least.

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    @ChicagoNW, I did think about it. Prior to revision 23, it was single track across the bridge. Rev 24 had the bridge mostly doubled and rev 25 and later is what you see today. My reasons were as follows: on the prototype, the tracks - a trio, but not enough space for me to do that - ran to the northwest about a mile and were used during the beet campaign for car storage. My thought was that if I was operating the layout alone - as, I imagine, I'll end up doing most of the time - I'd probably get sick of the bridge and leave it stored most of the time. Running the pair of tracks right up to the edge would maximize car storage for those instances and I plan on having some type of clear Plexiglas to prevent the 640 foot plunge...

    Bridge-Revisions.jpg
    @dwwojcik, I dearly wanted what you describe as it'd allow me to have more mainline traffic so I could trot out the TOFC, autoracks, etc., but I couldn't come up with a plan that was reasonable. I tossed around open staging, grades and lower-level staging, the lot and just couldn't get something I liked. Chief problem was I was not going to compromise on a 20" minimum radius for the mainline and I just kept running out of space... so I ended up deciding to cut the mainline and associated traffic out and focus more on the Connell Turnaround train and it's traffic.

    -Sam

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    I agree that it seems like this plan is just begging for a staging track or three. The interchange at top right is the most likely candidate for this, instead of having a track that terminates at the top edge backdrop, you could try to bend that track around behind a low-level view block such as buildings or trees (maybe neither of those is appropriate for the region you're modeling... I dunno) and then have a staging track along the top edge that is just behind a horizon-only backdrop. By which I mean a low backdrop that only comes up to the tops of trees or buildings or terrain, having no sky; the sky is on a separate backdrop set behind that one. This lets you reach over the horizon to access the hidden track.

    The other candidate for connecting a staging track might be the far left end of that double-ended yard, using a pinwheel yard ladder and again hiding the staging behind a view block of some type, along the left edge. In fact, such a track could run all along the bottom edge too, and connect again with the main line somewhere down in the lower right, to become a double-ended staging option. Then go ahead and do the top edge staging from the interchange as mentioned before, and you have a wealth of routing opportunities; an interchange train could emerge from staging, switch a bit in the yard, then proceed again in the same direction to end up in a different staging track. Meanwhile, the yard can receive a different train also from staging but coming from a different direction! All of this would really activate Connell, and help it to support the switching operations going on elsewhere on the layout.

    Let me give you a high five for your choice of era, as I model 1971 myself! I feel like it's kind of a bit overlooked timeframe since so many either model transition era (1950s) or else contemporary (2000s). Now that there is one more 2nd-gen modeler out there in the world, surely the manufacturers will offer more appropriate rolling stock...

    Hello. My name is Michael, and I am an ALCo - haul - ic.

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    Gents,

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    I'll have to go back and reconsider the staging. One thought I had was to do pretty much as you talked about and add staging off the north (left) end of the yard in Connell. This would be just like the actual NP main, heading to Spokane. My thought was to take the CN track and put it on a grade - as it does in real life, see here as an example (the BNSF units are in Connell Yard and the CBRW train is on the CN grade towards Bruce). Problem was that I couldn't come up with a nice way to tie in trains exiting staging on the right (coming from Pasco) with the track at Wheeler/Scalley - the lift-out bridge - without having a grade in excess of anything reasonable. One new thought is, though, to completely discard the idea of tying Wheeler/Scalley in with the main and simply have a double-deck lift-out bridge... why not do stuff the hard way?

    Connell / staging layer:
    Staging.jpg

    CN layer:
    Upper-Layer.jpg

    You can see in the above images the shortened yard, curved NP main disappearing under the CN line (this will be something to figure out, as there are no tunnels, trees, etc. in this area) and on the other side the existing NP main, still using the same plan, now under the pair of storage tracks at Wheeler. Staging would now be the continuous run loop, all on the lower level - not separated by much at all, and access on the bottom end under Wheeler/Scalley - and the upper level would be the CN, much closer to the prototype in that it doesn't tie back into the main NP line. Another plus is I can leave the existing subroadbed designs as-is...

    Thoughts?

    -Sam
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quick update - I've done a few minor tweaks to the plan but it's more or less the previously posted plan. Staging (Spokane/Pasco) will run around the bottom of the layout and have three tracks. The interchange at Connell will now feature a grade - somewhat steeper than the prototype - and the design at Bruce and Wheeler/Scalley area is largely unchanged.

    223r33-Staging.jpg223r33-Diagram.jpg

    -Sam

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    How did I miss this!
    Need to go back and do a thorough read thru!
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Not much happening this week... sort of the calm before the storm.

    I was gifted some 3d printed items late last week, far ahead of the planned schedule for the parts... They were printed on a Robo R1 3d printer using PLA, so the resolution is ok but not what was hoped/planned. Some parts - the foundations in the rear - should be fine (they are the Bruce & Wheeler depot foundations) but the anhydrous ammonia tank caps will take some work before they are layout ready. Fortunately, I have a ton of the end caps as different orientations and other printing options were tried.

    3d-Prints.jpg

    In other news, I took a break late last night from studying and threw together a design for the Connell loading ramp.

    Loading-Ramp.jpg

    This is a NP standard plan and it's about the same design as was used at Bruce... so two prints, two structures taken care of. Unfortunately, the Wheeler ramp is quite different, as well as much lower in the build queue... rate things are going that'll be late this year or next year.

    -Sam

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    Back at home for a few days so I took most of yesterday to acquire some board and head down to the fab lab with a plan.

    Board-1.jpg

    Centerlines being scribed. Wasn't sure so chose a 1/16" depth for scribing them and next time I'll use a shallower setting. I don't think that the extra depth will affect anything though.

    Centerlines.jpg

    After placing screws all over the place for support, I started cutting the roadbed.

    Roadbed.jpg

    Unfortunately, there was another guy there that wanted to get on the router and was helping me get everything off of it... so I don't have any images of the completed roadbed on the router. Drug the mess home - car is in need of some TLC now - and laid out some of the roadbed on the floor.

    Layout.jpg

    The next week or so is on the road, guests, etc., so no progress to be made.

    -Sam

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    Good to see you posting! You know I'll be watching! :spy:
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Spent some time down at the fab lab yesterday with the drill press - risers now have holes and I'll end up using dowels and glue to fasten them to the benchwork. I set up the modules I've gotten around to thus far in order to start work on the grade between Connell and Bruce.

    09-17-2017 Progress.jpg

    After the grade is in place, I'll have to figure out the final layout height. Thought right now is between 46-48" for the upper level, and about three inches lower for the lower level.

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    Finished the last of the Connell modules and laid out the five I've gotten done thus far. First attempt at working the vertical curves on the grade didn't go that well, so it's back to the drawing board for a more math-based approach. Toying with the idea of doing legs for the modules and working on the grade after the modules are up at a comfortable height.

    09-20-2017 Progress.jpg

    The grade in question:

    09-20-2017 Grade.jpg

    This weekend my railroad time will be mostly consumed by operating on the KCS 3rd Sub - a Horribly Oversized layout - but should be interesting. I'll be working a yard job for the first time; all my previous jobs have been road jobs.

    -Sam

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    Despite the long silence, things have been happening on the Connell Northern. The monster has found it's legs - however temporarily - and is standing on all fourteen of them.

    Legs.jpg

    I laid some temporary track to check my grade calculations and the S-curve on the grade, using my most problematic cars. 89' Atlas flats and Kato ACF 70 ton hoppers, using OEM trucks and couplers. They've had some issues, as well as the older Kato hoppers I have that I've changed out to MTL couplers. Not too worried at the moment as the 89' flats won't serve industries on the CN branch but it'd be nice to get them working.
    Kato.jpg

    33' MTL two-bay hoppers went up and down without a problem:
    MTL.jpg

    Interestingly, Athearn 89' open-side auto racks went up and down with out an issue (body-mount McHenrys) and based on how my Train Worx and BLMA flats handled themselves on the previous layout, I don't expect any problems there either.

    -Sam

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    Interesting use of threaded rod. Are you using it to fine tune your grades?
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Quote Originally Posted by epumph View Post
    Are you using it to fine tune your grades?
    Exactly. I figured that if other curved grades (helixes) used it, why not use it for my curved grade? It's worked pretty well vertically but as I'm only using single points (bolts of varying lengths in this case) the lateral stability leaves something to be desired. That is a problem that I'll have to solve before moving on too far.

    -Sam

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    Had what might be called an unusually productive weekend. Lots of time spent at the fab lab here in Tulsa.

    I experimented with cutting pink foam on the CNC router.
    Foam.jpg
    Some minor trimming was needed but this foam experiment appeared to go relatively well and I am leaning towards expanding it through the remainder of the flat areas of the layout (Bruce and Wheeler/Scalley).
    C4Foam.jpg
    Roadbed was cut, starting with centerlines, as usual:
    Centerlines.jpg
    ...followed in due course by the placement of a hardware store's worth of screws to hold everything down and more cutting, resulting in another batch of roadbed pieces.
    Roadbed.jpg
    While the router was carrying out it's job, I spent a lot of time measuring, cutting, and drilling all the benchwork pieces so as to make it relatively easy to throw things together. Here's an end-on picture of Bruce module 3, with one of the freshly-cut roadbed pieces installed. Apologies for the mess and no, the layout won't be impinging on the door in the end... everything will be moved.
    Bruce3.jpg
    I've benchwork 'kits' for two more modules, but track installation is high on the priority list for the next couple of days. One of this evenings' jobs was measuring the thickness of cardstock out of an old calendar for superelevation. Turns out the thickness of an old Ansel Adams wall calendar is .01" (1.6" in N scale) for the covers and the interior pages are .007" (N scale: 1.12"). NP standard for superelevation was no more than 6" with 5.5" being the highest in usual practice.

    -Sam

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    Awesome work the foam looks great. Keep up the great progress and pics.

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    Default NP Standard Plan 8-1-1

    Spent some time last weekend laser cutting various parts (see here) and this week has been spent putting them into some semblance of Bridge #186 on the Connell Northern. This week's effort is basically a learning experience and I've enough bents, stringers, and other parts to make another, which will be the longer-term resident on the layout... There are a few minor - and not so minor - differences from the prototype, the largest of which is each bent is actually 15" pilings, so round and not square like mine. Eventually I may generate the time, energy, and patience to make one with round pilings.

    The product as it stands right now:
    Bridge186.jpg

    The prototype can be viewed at http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPic...spx?id=4148635

    -Sam

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    Bridge 186, (temporarily) installed. Still debating how I want to handle the second, longer-term version.

    186LowAngle.jpg

    186Profile.jpg

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