Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:03 am

In November this year The Wakefield Railway Modeller's Society will be holding their annual exhibition. One of the layouts featured will be a modern image American HO scale layout set in Wisconsin around the year 2000. The layout design was inspired by videos and then visits to the 'Twin Cities' of Neenah and Menasha. The operations focus on the Wisconsin Central Railway. In years past the Chicago & North Western Railway and the Soo Line/Milwaukee Road had parallel lines in the area with their own yards. The C&NW line crossed the Soo Line in the area being modelled. When the C&NW route was cut back the Soo Line route became the main route for freight.
There are a number of industries in the area most of which still use rail service and feature in the layout design. These are: US Papers, Pechiney, Noffke Lumber, General Chemical and Menasha Utilities. There are many other industries in the area that are not modelled but will feature in road freights. A big centre-piece of the layout is a swing bridge that spans the canal which is now used for leisure craft. The swing bridge has to date taken a lot of work and is nearly ready for testing. Various projects have been adopted by members of the group. I have concentrated on painting and ballasting the trackwork (Peco 83line), other members have done some fabulous work on the various structures, another member has worked on the wiring and detailing and so forth.
The operation of the layout will be via a DCC system. Locomotives are DCC fitted Atlas, Kato and Athearn. Rolling stock is from Atlas, Walthers, Athearn, Roundhouse, Rail Yard Models and Tangent Scale Models.
We plan to use switch lists to aid operations and there will be 4 trains in operation, one of which is the local that switches these industries. In detail these trains are: 1) The Menasha Local which switches the layout industries
2) The Banta Line local which switches industries 'off layout'
3) The Manitowoc Turn which serves the large Anhuesa-Busch malting plant
4) The Plymouth/Hilbert turn which handles agricultural commodities.
It will keep the operators busy.
The pictures below show what has been done so far. The SD26 is working the Manitowoc turn and the bridge support details are clear. The WC GP40 in the second photo is switching the small yard although when we are up and running we plan to use an exMILW/Soo Athearn Genesis MP15AC and reletter it for a loco leesing firm like USPX or something like that. The large structure in the background represents the Pechiney plant which makes plastic products. The structures shown in the first of the photos represents the US Papers Mill. The third photo shows the GP40 standing in front of the General Chemical structure.
Attachments
USPapers_800.jpg
USPapers_800.jpg (180.25 KiB) Viewed 8578 times
Menasha_GP40_3007_Yard.jpg
Menasha_GP40_3007_Yard.jpg (207.69 KiB) Viewed 8572 times
Menasha_GP40_3007_Switcher_800.jpg
Menasha_GP40_3007_Switcher_800.jpg (202.72 KiB) Viewed 8578 times
Manitowoc_Turn_800.jpg
Manitowoc_Turn_800.jpg (208.53 KiB) Viewed 8577 times
Last edited by YankeeRailroader on Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:28 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby josh993 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:19 am

Do you have a track plan??

looks marvelos :clap
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby Gloriousnse » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:41 am

Looks really good so far - i'm interested to see how you get on with a swing bridge, I wondered about doing something similar on one of our modules...

PS - WC3007 gets around, it was seen trailing a GTW SD40 in the Andover area last weekend! :lol:
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby shortliner » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:46 am

Very, very nice!
:clap
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby F-UnitMad » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:19 pm

What can I say... a discerning and exquisite taste in Railroads there, Sir !!! :thup Will it visit the West Midlands at some time? I do hope so... :mrgreen: :wave
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby DavidB-AU » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:20 pm

Very nice. Do you have a track plan or an overall photo?

Cheers
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:05 pm

We have a track plan in pdf format. I am not sure how this system handles pdf files. Anyone know?
I'll put one on once we know but for the time being here are some sketches of the real 'system' in order (north to south). The bit we are modelling is based (compressed, stretched, straightened) on the middle sketch.
Attachments
Menasha_2_800.jpg
Menasha_2_800.jpg (61.59 KiB) Viewed 8299 times
Menasha South.jpg
Menasha South.jpg (125.86 KiB) Viewed 8302 times
ex CNW Line in Neenah.jpg
ex CNW Line in Neenah.jpg (81.22 KiB) Viewed 8285 times
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:27 pm

Just a few updates...
The bridge is nearing completion with just a few tweaks here and there. The switches are being wired up and underboard rodding installed. The large Pechiney structure is being modified so it goes back to the backscene. We are also hiding the exCNW yard (2 tracks) inside this building but make it appear that the yard goes behind the structure. The Menasha Utilities structure is nearing completion (although I haven't seen it yet!). The canal is underway with the banks being built up with sections of scratchbuilt pilings, stonework and grass banking.
We have an expert tree maker too.
It will probably be a rush during the last couple of weeks prior to the exhibition in November.
I plan to take some more pix during October and post them here.
Watch this space. :clap
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:07 pm

Some more pix of the progress so far!
Attachments
Menasha_SD45_6585_800.jpg
The Manitowoc turn rolls across the swing bridge with loaded grain hoppers. The lead unit is a Kato SD45 and behind is an exMILW SDL39. The bridge now works and needs some finishing touches.
Menasha_SD45_6585_800.jpg (176.34 KiB) Viewed 7863 times
Menasha_GP40_3026_800.jpg
Wisconsin Central GP40 3026 (Atlas Master) pulls two loaded box cars away from the paper mill. The pilings are scratchbuilt from styrene.
Menasha_GP40_3026_800.jpg (209.43 KiB) Viewed 7844 times
Menasha_GP40_3026_310_800.jpg
A pair of GP40s switches the exC&NW yard. The GRS unit is on lease. Both units are Atlas Master. The structures at left represent the Pechiney Company which receives plastic pellets in covered hoppers. The two tall silos are scratchbuilt from water pipes with add on parts from Walthers. The buildings and pipework is designed to cover the entrance to the exC&NW yard.
Menasha_GP40_3026_310_800.jpg (191.49 KiB) Viewed 7809 times
Menasha_GP35_2551_800.jpg
A Wisconsin Central GP35 in the yard. The unit is a Railpower shell on an Athearn chassis.
Menasha_GP35_2551_800.jpg (206.81 KiB) Viewed 7783 times
Last edited by YankeeRailroader on Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:29 pm

And some more...
Attachments
Menasha_GRS_GP40_310_800.jpg
The Menasha Local with a leased Guilford Geep pushes its train into the exC&NW yard. The train had earlier arrived from Neenah Yard (behind the hole in the backscene). The local will then switch the various industries in the area.
Menasha_GRS_GP40_310_800.jpg (195.19 KiB) Viewed 7700 times
Menasha_SD45_SDL39_Manitowoc1_800.jpg
The Manitowoc turn heads across the canal with a Wisconsin Central SD45 and a rare SDL39. The bridge is now operational and the canal is about half done. This job serves a large Anheuser-Busch malting plant several miles to the east.
Menasha_SD45_SDL39_Manitowoc1_800.jpg (187.35 KiB) Viewed 7673 times
Menasha_MenashaUtilities_800.jpg
Menasha Utilities is well under way. This structure represents a small generating station that burns coal. In reality it is served by truck but is railserved on the layout.
Menasha_MenashaUtilities_800.jpg (151.95 KiB) Viewed 7627 times
Menasha_Manitowoc_C424_SD45_GP40_800.jpg
A three unit lash up heads across the canal with the Manitowoc to Neenah turn. Just imagine black smoke pouring from its exhaust!
Menasha_Manitowoc_C424_SD45_GP40_800.jpg (204.54 KiB) Viewed 7604 times
Menasha_GP40_GP35_800.jpg
A GP40 switches Noffke Lumber on its return to Neenah Yard.
Menasha_GP40_GP35_800.jpg (227.91 KiB) Viewed 7566 times
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby Gloriousnse » Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:31 am

Nice stuff!

Is the SDL39 a kitbash? Looks very good and a nice "signature" WC loco. :thup

The "map" unit is nicely done as well.
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby Patrick » Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:46 pm

:drool :drool :drool
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:09 pm

Gloriousnse wrote:Nice stuff!

Is the SDL39 a kitbash? Looks very good and a nice "signature" WC loco. :thup

The "map" unit is nicely done as well.

I understand that the SDL39 is a Kaslo shops kit. I did not build the model. A fellow member of the club did and he also did the 'Map' GP40. One thing we do need to do is decide the locos we are using and buy the chips! I have one SD26 chipped while another modeller has a Master GP40. The SDL39 builder has more chipped locos. Its going to be a mad rush to get the locos ready for DCC operation.
Glad it caught your eye!
:lol:
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby jongwinnett » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:53 pm

Superb layout ImageImageImage
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:11 pm

We ran some locos on the layout last night. All track is wired up and operational. The hand operated points need wiring up and polarity switches installed. The Atlas SD26 which I DCC chipped earlier this year is a top runner! I must say that this is a splendid model by Atlas. It runs smoothly and quietly. I also have an Atlas Master MEC GP38 which is also smooth and quiet. But I also have an Atlas Master GP40 MEC 310 (photo above) which 'hums' rather loudly when it runs as we discovered last night. A fellow member said it might be because its an earlier Master version. I'll have to add a new chip to my chipping list which includes a Genesis MP15AC (when it arrives), a Kato SD40-2 in EMD lease blue aquired 2nd hand recently and possibly an Atlas Silver B30-7 in CSX.
Anyway progress on the exhib layout to date has included work on the canal bed, embankments, canal walls, bridge, roadways, ballasting track, completing laying the exSoo/MILW yard (2 track fiddle yard) and structures. Further trees need to be ordered from our tree maker. We realise that some frantic work will be needed prior to the exhib at the end of November.
It'll be ready!
Will post some more recent pix soon.
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby F-UnitMad » Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:11 pm

I'm not sure how to put this well, but what I like about this layout is that it looks like it's being built by Americans... Do I make sense here? I don't know how to put it into words properly, but they definitely have something indefinably different about how they put layouts together and do things with the trackplan... I don't know what it is, but this layout's got it anyway!!! :? :lol: :thup
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby Steve Williams » Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:09 pm

F-UnitMad wrote:I'm not sure how to put this well, but what I like about this layout is that it looks like it's being built by Americans... Do I make sense here? I don't know how to put it into words properly, but they definitely have something indefinably different about how they put layouts together and do things with the trackplan... I don't know what it is, but this layout's got it anyway!!! :? :lol: :thup


I know exactly what you mean Jordan. As a general rule, I would suggest that the Brits tend to be more 'sequential' in construction. By that I mean, all the woodwork, then all the trackwork, then all the scenery. A lot of American layouts seem to be more 'organic' in their construction, for want of a better term. One will see some structure and scenic development, before all the trackwork or even superstructure construction is complete. I think that this maybe because some US layouts are so large that if everything was done in strict sequence, it would be years before they got to the 'visual bits'.

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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby YankeeRailroader » Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:30 pm

F-UnitMad wrote:I'm not sure how to put this well, but what I like about this layout is that it looks like it's being built by Americans... Do I make sense here? I don't know how to put it into words properly, but they definitely have something indefinably different about how they put layouts together and do things with the trackplan... I don't know what it is, but this layout's got it anyway!!! :? :lol: :thup

Thanks for your comments. Two club members made a couple of research trips to Menasha, WI and came back with hundreds of photos and research notes on operations and the history of the area. I think what makes it work is that it is based on a real place where two competing companies (SOO and C&NW) had parallel routes through the area and that in recent times the C&NW route was cut back. So the model railroad has tried to capture this area. It has been compressed, straightened and stretched but it should be fun to operate. I have drawn up draft switch lists for the 4 turns that will operate on a 'fast clock'.
I have also made several visits to the US to observe and photograph railroad operations. So we know how the Americans run their trains.
Once again thanks for your comments and your feedback.
:winker
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby F-UnitMad » Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:32 pm

Steve Williams wrote: A lot of American layouts seem to be more 'organic' in their construction, for want of a better term ... this maybe because some US layouts are so large that if everything was done in strict sequence, it would be years before they got to the 'visual bits'.


:lol: :lol: :lol: Very true I suspect... I've often wondered what happens if you get bored or change interests entirely, ten years into your twenty-year Basement Empire "Grand Plan"... :shock: :roll: :lol: :tongue
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:18 am

Probably end up with nothing to show for ten years modelling. Can't think of anyone like that around here (retires into corner looking shifty and embarrassed)

Mind you, my grand designs usually last about three months before I get distracted/bored/fed up...
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby shortliner » Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:32 am

Don't worry, Jon you are about to have company [another shifty, embarrassed-looking person joins him in the corner :oops: ]
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby jongwinnett » Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:49 am

shortliner wrote:Don't worry, Jon you are about to have company [another shifty, embarrassed-looking person joins him in the corner :oops: ]

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby Steve Williams » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:11 am

jongwinnett wrote:
shortliner wrote:Don't worry, Jon you are about to have company [another shifty, embarrassed-looking person joins him in the corner :oops: ]

:lol: :lol: :lol:


Perhaps we should form a sub-group!

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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby shortliner » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:25 am

I have a sneaky feeling it could grow fairly quickly! :wow
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Re: Menasha, WI - an HO scale exhibition layout

Postby F-UnitMad » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:50 am

Steve Williams wrote:
jongwinnett wrote:
shortliner wrote:Don't worry, Jon you are about to have company [another shifty, embarrassed-looking person joins him in the corner :oops: ]

:lol: :lol: :lol:


Perhaps we should form a sub-group!

Steve


Oh dear what have I started?!?!? :shock: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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