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Thread: Southern Railway's Slate Fork Branch

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    Default Southern Railway's Slate Fork Branch

    YOU DID WHAT!!!???

    Perhaps my avatar says it all. But first a bit of back story. Fourteen months I began chronicling on this forum the development of my N scale Milwaukee Road Harbor Branch. Everything was going along swimmingly, until I reached a point where I could no longer make any further excuses for the harbor scene itself. In short, it was cramped. So cramped, in fact, that no right-thinking railroad would have put a moveable bridge across that harbor mouth -- be that bridge a swing, scherzer or lift. And no sane skipper would have taken his fishing trawler into that narrow harbor either.

    No matter what iterations I came up with, what looked great on paper would not do in 3-D. I then gave some thought to changing the layout's theme, keeping the bridges but with lumber traffic instead. Well, that was just another Milwaukee Road layout in the Pacific Northwest, and I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with that. The harbor, swing bridge, and seafood traffic is what made the Harbor Branch unique.

    For more than a decade I've harbored a fascination for the Appalachian coal roads, ever since coming across the Appalachian Railroad Modeling website, interestingly enough when I was searching the Web one day for an article back when I worked at MR. Not too many years later I built an HO scale version of Dan Borque's Rend Branch track plan but with a Virginian Railway theme. It came down before the scenery went up, though. And when we moved back to Western Washington in 2007, an N scale version of the Southern Railway or Interstate in southwest Virginia was competing hard against my other consideration, British Railways; the latter has come to fruition in Ettinsmoor.

    But the coal branch bug would not go away. I'd acquired three Atlas Southern GP38s in 2012. I'd get wistful each time I'd see something related those Appalachian coal haulers. Finally, in February I made the move – I rearranged a few lengths of track on the 36x80-inch HCD that as the Harbor Sub, made modifications to the existing styrofoam scenic base, acquired a fleet of 70-ton hoppers. The rest is what you see below in the form of Southern Railway's Slate Fork Branch of the Appalachia Division.

    The era is 1980. The Slate Fork Railway was a shortline which the Southern acquired in the 1960s, outbidding competitor L&N as it had for the Interstate. Located in the extreme southwest of Virginia, the SFRY had interchanged all of its traffic with the L&N. Today, the L&N still interchanges cars with the Southern, for the branch's key loadout provides a highly coveted metallurgical bituminous coal. Demand is high, and the Southern operates two mine runs a day up the Slate Fork. A smaller truck dump is located further along the branch, as well as an ammonium nitrate bulk facility. Trucks take the fertilizer to surrounding mines, where – when mixed with diesel – it becomes a powerful explosive used to open new seams. The town of Slate Fork is catered to via a team/house track, where loads of diesel and gasoline, mine supplies, and some of the basic needs of life arrive as needed.

    It was a photograph of a set of Louisville & Nashville power standing out in a late Kentucky winter’s day that made me opt for that season – spring's first hints softening winter's starkness appeals to me in real life as well. And I did not want to replicate the green puffball trees prevalent on other Appalachian-based layouts. While the overall effect of those layouts is pleasing, spring and summer are overdone. I also took inspiration from Mike Canfalone's superb Allagash Railroad, set in April 1977.

    What you see here is the layout’s current status. I’m designing a smash board swing gate for the L&N/Southern crossing, preparing to scratchbuild the ammonium nitrate loader, and looking at several options for a loadout. Some company houses and a company store are needed, but the era of the coal barons is over, and the company houses will be of different colors, the company store just another place where folks can get groceries. Even the former Slate Fork Railway depot is no more, a victim of a fire. In its place stands a converted boxcar, where the agent still hoops up train orders.

    More photos to follow, as soon as I can convince the camera to provide better depth of field.

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    You what?! Abandoning the Pacific NW MR for the Southern? That does it, you are dead to me ... Good day sir, I said good day!
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    C'mon '2013, don't be so hard on Paul.

    He may be smoking a bad batch of home made cigarettes.

    Or maybe someone is holding a gun on him.

    He surely didn't make the switch willingly.
    (The voices I hear in my head may not be real, but sometimes they come up with a good idea.)

    Have fun.

    Moose

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    I liked how much you were fitting on the hollow core door without making it look crowded (at least I didn't think so). Oh well, if it wasn't working for you then no sense sinking more time into the harbor. The spring theme sounds great. Challenging because it will be harder to get away with "filler" trees when all the branches are more visible, but unique and pretty cool. And I have to admit, those late model, high hood geeps are pretty cool looking. Looking forward to pictures.

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    Welcome to Appalachia! While you'll be geographically closer to TwinDad's CH&FR than to my Winchester Division, I sure we can scare up some interchange traffic. Almost every eastbound train that leaves Winchester Yard heads down to Roanoke (one of my two staging yards). Yeah, you read that right; eastbound from Winchester means actually traveling southwesterly. Trains don't actual move east until they get to Roanoke, where they get re-blocked into longer trains mixing in with coal field traffic heading to Lambert Point.

    Anyway, it's pretty country down there, even if it is a mite hard on the dynamic brakes, and I'm itchin' to see what you come up with.

    Get yourself a Rail Pass for free travel on the WP&P: wpandp.com
    Could Star Wars: The Last Jedi have been a smarter movie with just one tweak? wpandp.com/how-an-interdictor-could-have-fixed-the-last-jedi/

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    For as long as I've known you Paul, I can honestly say this move shouldn't surprise me............BUT IT DOES! What are you doing?? All I can figure is that you've been spending too much time with Deverell. ( our close friend and HO modeler who after working on a huge layout for 10 years just demolished it last week) Guys, I was fortunate enough to see Paul's Milw. Road Harbor Branch and it looked better in real life than the pictures he shared with us. You know as well as any of us Paul, that anything one puts on a HCD will be a compressed area of what we are actually modeling. My heartfelt honest opinion was that you did a superb job on your MRHB. I agree with your feeling of needing to have a larger bay to justify the bridge and harbor. After seeing your layout room with limited space the only resolve I could have offered would have been to add a full length piano hinge across the end of the HCD and add a three foot drop down extension. This would have extended the run and doubled the size of your harbor. But then again, I know you don't like seam lines across your layout, especially in the water. Anyway, I'm sure you can tell I am totally disappointed that I won't be seeing what I feel would have been a fantastic layout. Moving on...........

    Paul is one of the most skilled modelers that I have had the pleasure of knowing and I know what ever he dreams up for this future adventure will be great as always. I personally don't know much about eastern railroading, but I do have a few pictures to share from the couple of trips I have made, if you'd like.

    I like the idea of following along with Mike C's theme of something other than summer. Trees with no leaves etc. This will definitely speed up the scenery stage. When I lived in Dallas with 100*+ days, I seriously considered a gray stormy backdrop just to make me feel cooler.

    Well, I'm glad you're back and active on the forum again. Looking forward to following along and seeing the photos that will be coming soon.
    Best wishes..........m

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    Welcome to the (Green) Light, my son.
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    Paul,
    I am diggin your weekend update photo post...
    What are you using for trees? Coloring looks great.
    Steve - Jugtown Modeler..............Don't know enough about railroading yet, but scale modeling is my life..............Web-Folio

    The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam to a carriage on wheels will make a great change in the situation of man. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1802


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    Default Trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Jugtown Modeler View Post
    Paul,
    I am diggin your weekend update photo post...
    What are you using for trees? Coloring looks great.
    Thank you. Scenic Express seafoam armatures shot with gray primer. In places there are trees with just a light dusting of green foam.

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    The idea of late winter / early spring has appeal. Winter detritus. Green starting to appear. Possibility of ornamental flowering trees/plants in appropriate locations.
    I have wondered myself if this has ever been modeled.
    Looking forward to more pics and posts.

    ?? " Scenic Express seafoam armatures " - sorry, curious, but can't find this....
    Steve - Jugtown Modeler..............Don't know enough about railroading yet, but scale modeling is my life..............Web-Folio

    The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam to a carriage on wheels will make a great change in the situation of man. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1802


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    LOOK AHEAD, LOOK SOUTH! :yes:
    PW&NJ Railroad

    The Resourceful Route!



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    Default Some Things are Simply not Forgivable...

    Quote Originally Posted by MooseID View Post
    C'mon '2013, don't be so hard on Paul.

    He may be smoking a bad batch of home made cigarettes.

    Or maybe someone is holding a gun on him.

    He surely didn't make the switch willingly.
    Moose,

    [Why do I suddenly feel I'm talking to myself?]

    You're right, Paul must be smokin' somethin' aweful, 'cause otherwise there'd be nooo excuse for this, this, this betrayal to North-Westerners everywhere!

    I had a hard time sleeping last night, tossin' and turnin', trying to deal with this madness ... Of course, that might have just been somehow related to my Starbucks addiction...
    I've come to the conclusion that, well, its time for an intervention!

    And if that doesn't work, an exorcism!
    Last edited by Moose2013; 28th Apr 2014 at 07:58 PM.
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Whiteman View Post
    My heartfelt honest opinion was that you did a superb job on your MRHB.
    Thanks for the kind words, Michael. And don't give up hope on the Harbor Branch entirely. I've still got all the equipment. I've been thinking today that for someone lik me who likes to model in the N scale and has a lot of varied prototype interests, a handful layouts built on HCDs might be just the ticket rather than one large layout! Stow in a specially made, covered rack when interest cyclically piques in one and fades in another.

    I've been bouncing ideas around about the Ballard Terminal on an HCD as well. But not for quite a while would that come to fruition. I've got plenty to do on the Slate Fork Branch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jugtown Modeler View Post
    The idea of late winter / early spring has appeal. Winter detritus. Green starting to appear. Possibility of ornamental flowering trees/plants in appropriate locations.
    I have wondered myself if this has ever been modeled.
    Mike Canfalone is modeling early spring on his HO scale Allagash Railroad. April 1997 to be exact, and since the Allagash serves the north country in Maine, it might as still be winter, except for all the mud.

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    Despite the grief you may be getting (why it matters to anyone else what you're modeling, I'm at a loss), I always look forward to seeing more modeling of southeastern U.S. railroads. Besides, the Southern Ry. was classy. My HCD layout includes an interchange with the Southern Ry.

    DFF
    "I like trains!"

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    This might be a silly question, but I see several references in this thread to photos, but I can't actually see any?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danielb View Post
    This might be a silly question, but I see several references in this thread to photos, but I can't actually see any?
    me either :dunno:

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    Quote Originally Posted by danielb View Post
    This might be a silly question, but I see several references in this thread to photos, but I can't actually see any?
    check the Weekend Update thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwh70 View Post
    check the Weekend Update thread
    My digital camera is giving me fits re: depth of field. I hope to post more pix tonight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davefoxx View Post
    Despite the grief you may be getting (why it matters to anyone else what you're modeling, I'm at a loss), I always look forward to seeing more modeling of southeastern U.S. railroads. Besides, the Southern Ry. was classy. My HCD layout includes an interchange with the Southern Ry.

    DFF
    Oh, it's just good-natured ribbing, Dave. Really. . .I hope so, anyway.

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