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The Furness Valley Railroad


chaz
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Read this first!

 

If you want to go straight to some of my photos and not have to look at Photobucket's pathetic offering I suggest you jump to page 43.

 

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I am not sure whether to post this in Layout Topics, in the USA & Canada section or indeed in the Narrow Gauge section. I decided on Layout topics - if that seems wrong no doubt someone will tell me...

 

As the work involved in Dock Green tapers off - just a few jobs to do arising from our experiences at the recent Warley Show - my thoughts are turning to my new project. This will be an On30 layout in my roof replacing my old and rather tired 7mm BR layout. The usable roof space is approximately 14 feet by 10 feet and I have spent some time sketching and planning how to make the best use of it.

One thing that Dock Green, with its four four-foot baseboards has taught me is the value of working on sections of a layout rather than trying to build the whole thing in one. For me at least it seems less daunting and the work gets done. So I am planning to build the layout in stages, completing each section before moving on to the next.

Here's the current state of my plans. I should say that these drawings are only sketches, the final realisation is likely to vary in detail.

 

Stage 1

 

...will be to build the fiddle yard and the first scenic section, which will feature a girder bridge, probably over a dry(ish) river bed.

 

P1030297-2_zpse0a00fa5.jpg

 

Even at this early stage it will be nice to give the trains a run. To make this possible I intend to make a temporary fiddle yard and a 90 degree curve so I can see trains at least run across the bridge.

 

bridgewithdiagonals2.jpg

 

The bridge is a conversion from a Kibri HO kit.

 

girderbridge7.jpg

 

To accomodate On30 models I removed the side girders from the existing deck and put in new, longer cross girders. I rebuilt it as a pony truss as the girders are not high enough to allow any top bracing.

 

girderbridge5.jpg

 

A Bachmann mogul sits nicely between the girders.

 

Stage 2

     
A station for a small town, provisionally called Benton or Bentonville will be sited on a curve.

 

P1030298-2_zps5cafbdfb.jpg

 

This will have a siding (passing loop) and maybe a couple of spur tracks on which freight cars can be spotted. A small timber built depot will serve the town traffic. The temporary curve will be removed and the fiddle yard move to a new position. With this station in place operating will become more interesting.

 

Stage 3

 

A scenic section featuring a 3 foot long trestle bridge and a curve, the latter somewhat concealed by trees. The temporary fiddle yard is now on the fourth wall.

 

P1030300-2_zps08831288.jpg

 

Although this new section will have only the single track line with no pointwork I anitcipate it taking  a while to complete. I have already made the bents for the trestle bridge but assembling this, making the groundwork around it and enough trees to make the area seem wooded will take time.

 

Stage 4

 

This makes it look like I have ended up with an oval with continuous running, but in fact this is not the way I will operate the line. The fiddle yard now has two separate sections facing opposite ways. The crossover in between the two sections is there to allow locos from the front section access to the turntable.

 

P1030302-2_zps4f0d999e.jpg

 

When I reach stage 4 it will be time to take stock and decide whether this is finished or whether or go for...

 

Stage 5

 

....a triangular junction leading to a terminus station. I am thinking the edges of the baseboard will be finished to look like a pier. I envisage the "main" line being the route through Benton, the other route to the two track part of the fiddle yard will be seen as a branch with shorter, less frequent trains.

 

P1030303-2_zpsaf1c55e0.jpg

 

The car ferry will be removeable to a shelf below with some storage tracks so cars can be rolled on and off - when the ferry returns it's carrying different cars.

 

That's my current thinking for the layout - it's subject to change - that's almost inevitable as I start to build it and the reality of the space required by the trackwork, buildings etc becomes clearer. Once the roof space is sorted I will produce some full sized plans showing track (using point templates) and building footprints before I start the serious business of erecting the first baseboards.

 

Chaz

 

Edited by chaz
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It's different, quite a change from Dock Green. 

 

I marked this one down for one to watch and it will be interesting to see how it evolves from the sketches above through some serious design thoughts to reach each finished stage.

 

Keep on posting.

 

Regards

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It's different, quite a change from Dock Green. 

 

I marked this one down for one to watch and it will be interesting to see how it evolves from the sketches above through some serious design thoughts to reach each finished stage.

 

Keep on posting.

 

Regards

 

"It's different, quite a change from Dock Green."

 

Quite so, Barnaby, different in just about every respect! The only thing it will share with Dock Green is the DCC system which can be lifted out in it's box and transferred from one layout to the other.

 

Chaz.

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Wow, that's quite a development plan Chaz, I like it a lot.

Great to see you've come over to the narrow side!

Cheers, Dave.

 

Thanks, Dave, your encouragement (as always) is much appreciated. Although it will be narrow gauge the end result will be very different to your own models.

 

As usual the most horrendous compromises must be accepted to get this into the space...

  • trains far too short   :O
  • curves much too tight (two foot radius)   :O
  • stations too cramped and far too close together   :O

Despite that I think it will be fun to build and operate. Most of the equipment will be Bachmann RTR with a few conversions etc but all will be repainted, weathered or at least relettered for the FVRR. I am hoping to get a convincing look of a slightly tatty, run-down railroad running through a wooded valley. At the end of the line is a small coastal dock with a (railroad) car ferry across an inlet. On the other side is imagined to be a larger town which is on a standard gauge railroad.

 

I am hoping to get the space sorted in time to start work on the staging (fiddle yard) and the first section (the girder bridge) in early January. One problem I anticipate is the one that besets modular groups - a sudden change in colour, texture etc between one section and the next. Noting down colours and materials used will help but also having the next baseboard ready and doing the next few inches across the join will avoid "highlighting" the join.

 

A plus point of the plan occurs to me - until I get the final stage started (if I ever get that far) the whole centre of the space will be open and free to work in.

 

Chaz

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Considering how fantastic Dock Green is, and considering this is an American layout...

 

Well, to paraphrase a quote from my favourite film:

 

"You had my curiosity. But now you have my attention!"

 

:D

 

Thanks for the comments Daniel.

 

Dock Green has a "natural" backdrop, being hemmed in by retaining walls - one of the challenges I have with the Furness Valley is to make it look good with such narrow baseboards. I think there will need to be quite a few steep, tree-covered slopes. I am going to have to get good at making trees - not a skill I needed for Dock Green.

 

Chaz

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Chaz,

 

You will probably need to obtain Gordon Gravett's books on tree making.  Vol 1 is under 'the tree'  I hope! (ouch terrible pun.....!! :jester: ), so will report back after the turkey, mince pies, cake and beer have worn off...... :crazy:

 

Edit:  Narrow guage and American railways are not topics I would normally follow, but after Dock Green, you certainly have my attention on the FVRR.

 

Paul, thanks for the suggestion - I do have Mr Gravett's books in mind. I have admired the trees on his Pempoul layout when I have seen it at shows - quite exquisite. It's probably too late to put the books on my Santa list but my birthday is in January....

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I shan't need them yet but I do have a head-start for the trestle bridge....

 

P1010627a700x246.jpg

 

And I did mention conversions...

 

P1010449a700x388.jpg

 

....it's a Bachmann Forney hacked about and given a Backwoods Miniatures slope-back tender. Must finish it!

 

Another unfinished conversion (Dock Green took all my model time - but there is no excuse now  :scratchhead: )...

 

P1010817a700x629.jpg

 

A  Bachmann combine with Backwoods parts added to make it into a "Doodlebug".

 

P1010848a700x359.jpg

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Solid work already Chaz! :)

 

Have you considered scratchbuilding some rolling stock?

 

I could do so Daniel, but I almost certainly won't. I want to spend my time hand-laying track and scenery and trees, lots of trees! I know they don't suit everyone but I am happy with Bachmann rolling stock. I think there are two or three year's work in the layout if I take it right through to stage 5.

 

Chaz

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P1010817a700x629.jpg

 

I think I will "upgrade" this conversion by replacing the solid white metal lamps with working ones made up out of brass tube. If I make three, one will serve at the other end as a back-up light.

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Are you sure you wouldn't reconsider? I mean, in O you could make some really lovely boxcars out of stripwood and balsa, only using proprietary trucks to make things easy. With your skills I've no doubt you could make some beautiful examples, too!

 

One of the things that attracted me to British O gauge. :D

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Are you sure you wouldn't reconsider? I mean, in O you could make some really lovely boxcars out of stripwood and balsa, only using proprietary trucks to make things easy. With your skills I've no doubt you could make some beautiful examples, too!

 

One of the things that attracted me to British O gauge. :D

 

I would never say never, but I still think it unlikely. Just to put things in perspective there is only one scratchbuilt wagon running on Dock Green (and I am very proud of it) - all the rest are kit built, either in plastic or etched brass. I built the steam locos from brass kits and the diesels are RTR. The track is Peco. Conversely, apart from one kit-built hut, all the buildings and bridges on Dock Green are scratchbuilt. I intend to make my own track for the FVRR except in the fiddle yard, where Peco O/16.5 NG track will serve. So there is potentially more work in the new project than there was in Dock Green, especially if the trees are to be as numerous as I imagine - there just won't be time to do it all but the Bachmann RTR gives me a handy shortcut.

 

Chaz

 

LATER EDIT - change of plan - all track in the fiddle yard will be Peco 4mm as I have more than enough flexible left over from a previous layout.

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While I tidy, seal up (it's awfully draughty up there sometimes!) and repaint the roof space I've been giving some thought to the first scenic section of the layout. I want it to look something like this...

 

post-9071-0-81716400-1499524567.jpg

 

The trains will emerge from the fiddle yard through a screen of dense woodland before crossing a river on the skew girder bridge. This will be supported on stone abuttments (carved DAS). The river bed will be rocks and stones with only a glint here and there of water and will curve round behind the line to the right disappearing amongst the trees. Many of the trees will be half trees up against the backscene which will have tree shapes in texture and, more distantly, as painted silhouettes.

The space in the foreground to right of the river might be a cleared area - part of the station at Bentonville or it might have more trees, I left it blank so as not to obscure the bridge in the drawing. I've sketched 21 or so trees on this section - I'm going to need an awful lot of trees....

 

Chaz

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  • 2 weeks later...

Have been spending time up in the roof, sealing up gaps that give rise to some epic draughts and painting the walls and ceiling.

 

P1030322-2_zpsbd9ea5a0.jpg

 

While I have been doing that I have been thinking about what height to set the new layout at. My preference would be to put the top surface of the baseboards four feet from the floor but that's going to be totally impractical...

 

P1030320-2_zps922a3249.jpg

 

The bottom edge of the horizontal beam is 38 inches from the floor and the beam is about 7 inches tall and to make best use of the space the layout must be no higher than the bottom of the beam. Even at 38 inches a number of compromises are forced. The height of backscenes will be restricted unless these are moved away from beam, but as they are moved further away the space left for the layout and the operating space is reduced.

 

It's a question of balancing all the conflicting factors and deciding which compromises to accept. Sound familiar?

 

Chaz

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I have drawn a revised plan, the main change from the original (see above) being that the two sides are switched. The roof is not symmetrical and I want to make use of the side with the greater headroom for the long scenic section, putting the fiddle yard, which will have no backscene, on the other side.

 

post-9071-0-94861900-1499524835.jpg

 

You may notice a few other changes to the design...

By rearranging the fiddle yard the crossover linking the two sections can be deleted (I don't want continuous running) whilst still allowing access to the turntable from both. Incidentally the parallel tracks in the fiddle yard will be set at 64mm (2.5") spacing to economise on space - in the scenic areas the minimum spacing will be 75mm, opening out to 89mm on curves.

I have also sketched in a slightly larger engine yard alongside the wye junction and suggested a small industrial building, with its own spur, between the fiddle yard and the curve to the girder bridge. This will allow a little switching into the spur, with the occasional boxcar being swapped by a passing freight train.

 

It is still my intention to build the layout in sections. Stage one will be the fiddle yard and I don't anticipate this taking a long time as it will use Peco code 100 OO track. I have enough flexible Streamline stored from a long dismantled HO layout and just need to buy a few turnouts (sorry - switches!).

 

One job left to do to the roof space which will take a morning or so once I have the materials and then I will be able to make a start on the layout - certainly in the next week or two.....

 

Chaz

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By rearranging the fiddle yard the crossover linking the two sections can be deleted (I don't want continuous running) whilst still allowing access to the turntable from both.

 

Hi Chaz,

 

Looking great, I like the development of the design.

 

Keeping the two ends linked has its uses, even without continuous running.  It allows you to swap empty freight cars for full ones to send back the other way.   But that of course depends on your freight traffic and may not be an issue.

 

Cheers, Dave.

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Hi Chaz,

 

Looking great, I like the development of the design.

 

Keeping the two ends linked has its uses, even without continuous running.  It allows you to swap empty freight cars for full ones to send back the other way.   But that of course depends on your freight traffic and may not be an issue.

 

Cheers, Dave.

 

I take your point Dave. In fact I do intend to have two trains of coal hoppers, one full and one empty and running in opposite directions. Of course it is a fiddle yard so the free 0-5-0 switcher could be used. It just needs a decent railer to put lifted stock back on the rails (the Bachmann cars are a pain to rail, the trucks being so narrow under the bodies). On the other hand reinstating the crossover might make the operation much easier. OK - you've persuaded me!

 

PS   I will be using US railway terminology in this thread (hence switcher, truck etc)  :declare:

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I have a bit of a delay on finishing the work on the roof space as I am waiting for some timber and chipboard to be delivered so yesterday afternoon I made a start on the baseboards for the fiddle yard. I have a quite a few frames which were made for the aborted version of the FVRR. One of these includes a baseboard top with a hole cut for the turntable. Cutting this to get the size to suit the fiddle yard was straightforward but the frame will need a bit more work.

 

P1030326-2_zps807e2978.jpg

 

The photo shows the top being marked out with track centre lines. I put a sheet of card under the turntable cut-out with the centre marked, allowing the approach tracks to be correctly aligned.

 

Downloaded Peco switch template is ready to set out alignment of the branch curve. Crude trammel compass made from a length of plastic cable trunking also ready to draw in curve alignments.

 

Chaz

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And so it begins...

 

Enjoy it mate! :D

 

Oh, I intend to Daniel. Progress should accelerate as the last jobs in the roof space get done. Laying the fiddle yard with Peco code 100 OO track should make this first stage a quick one.

 

Chaz

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