Sunday, September 17, 2017

Layout Design Crowd Sourcing

Crowd sourcing a layout design is certainly a new experience for me, and I'm not sure it's going to actually result in a workable layout design, but that hasn't stopped several people stepped up the plate and asked for the "brief" on the "Richford theme" layout. I sent each of them the following (NOTE: This note has been revised slightly this morning to clarify a couple of questions - so if you 're one of the "volunteers" use the specs below - changes shown in red italics): 

Central Vermont Railway v3.1 – to be built in Gainesville, Va. (a.k.a the new house)

I’m looking at four possible themes for the next layout – one of these is definitely in the lead but at this point all these options (and perhaps others?) are in the running:

1. Essex Junction – Richmond – Waterbury Vt., on the northern division mainline (Essentially a reboot of the last incarnation of my previous layout)
2. Richford Branch, 
3. Palmer Mass. – Millers Falls prototype modeling on the CV’s southern division. 
4. Southern New England – return to my prototype freelanced SNE – this time either circa 1925 OR circa 1965….

The following specs are focused on the Richford Branch, the other themes require different curve radii, governing motive power, and the like and therefore some adjustments to the list below will be required for those plans. 
 I plan to design the entire layout but complete construction in stages - one town at a time. Ultimately will include Richford, Sheldon Jct., Sheldon Falls, East Berkshire and/or Enosburg Falls.

Era: pre-September 1954 (plywood mill in Richford burned down in late Sept 1954) 

Governing motive power and minimum radius: N-5-a class 2-8-0s, 30” min. radius
Governing train length: 2 N-5-a’s, 16 40-foot cars +van. 

Space: The overall size of the room where the layout is to be located is approximately 26 x 42 feet. I have no intention of ever filling this room with a model railroad layout. The layout area is the area shown in the diagram – from the post to the exterior wall, and the approximately 30 foot length.

Aisle Width: 4 foot, minimum. Pinch points acceptable at ends of lobes, etc..

Grades: Although the Richford Branch was a helper district (the daily freight was frequently double-headed, and often needed a shove from the St. Albans switcher) – I’d prefer to keep the track level. In my experience, model railroad grades and “realistic” helper operations are asking for trouble. 

Control System: NCE wireless

Track: Micro-Engineering code 70 flex, handlaid turnouts. No 7s on passing sidings, No. 6 minimum everywhere else. Blue Point turnout throws. 

Schematic: Point to point (from staging into Richford) acceptable but MUST include “hands off” turning of locomotives on both ends of run. Richford can either use a turntable or the CP interchange wye, “St Albans” staging can use the Walthers 90-foot turntable I have on hand. 

Operating Crew: When the entire layout is complete I’d picture the following as a typical operating crew:
1. Richford Local Engineer
2. Richford Local Conductor
3. Paper Mill Switcher
4. CP Interchange Job (can be same as Paper Mill switcher person)
5. Dispatcher/Session coordinator

Must have scenes/elements on complete layout:
1. Richford Plywood Mill and Yard
2. Richford interchange with CPRy (nice to have would be the Agway feedmill on the CP in Richford, which was switched by both CV and CP.)
3. Sheldon Jct – interchange with St. J & LC. And three-span through truss bridge. 
4. Sheldon Falls – Paper mill 

I’ve sent the folks who expressed an interest (and Bernie, who didn’t express an interest but got drafted!) the following:
1. Article on Richford Branch from CVRHS Ambassador
2. Valuation Maps of the Richford Branch
3. Scans of pages on Richford from the Nimke Conn River book. 

Town maps, redrawn from various sources can be found on my blog – do a subject search for “Richford” and they should all show up, along with some photos. 
If you want to take a crack at one of the other themes feel free. I can answer any specific questions you might have - but suggest you start by searching the blog for the appropriate subject area (ie., "SNE", or "Palmer") - 

Finally, although the ultimate goal is a workable accurate plan, I'm well aware that it's impossible to accurately plan a layout when the  space is currently a hole in the ground.

So at this point use the estimated dimensions shown in the sketch on the blog, and keep the design "lose" - blocking in key elements, benchwork shapes and the like. I'd hate for someone to spend a lot of time coming up with an excellent design - and then find the basement is actually 10" shorter or whatever....
Thanks again! 

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