Layout Design: Beckleysville

In a previous post, I discussed some of my ideas about layout design that need to be discussed before you jump to pencil and paper.

In this post, I’m going to use my latest project, Beckleysville as an example.

(1) How much time and money do you have to pursue the project?

Time is always at a premium with a family and a fulltime plus job. That said how much time could I reasonably devote to the project? Originally, I thought at least two to three hours a week. No way, some months I have spent that time. recently though I decided that 1-2 hours a week would be good starting point and to stick to this approach. If anything as a pastime break from everything else in life. Money for a project as small as Beckleysville shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The decision to eventually use battery power will be perhaps the most costly.

My plan is to  hand lay my track and I have a good supply of ties, but will eventually need more. There is enough rail to finish the project. Same goes for cork sub-roadbed. I will need more plywood for modules and finger jointed stock for legs.

As far a motive power, I have two engines that will be used on Beckleysville. A Bachmann 2-6-0 that I want to resemble Colorado and Southern’s 3 foot gauge No. 22. Why, because it is a plausible locomotive in the motive power purchasing progression of the Northern Maryland. The Mogul will require some work to get to a daily player. It’s tender has hit the concrete floor and is in need of a new truck and various stirrups . My second engine is another Bachmann locomotive, a 4-6-0. The newest of the Northern Maryland’s motive power. I have always liked the ET&WNC’s ten-wheelers and I’m glad Bachmann made one in O scale. I will start with DCC since the ten-wheeler has DCC. However, my goal is to go to battery power down the road.

Rolling stock is an issue. In looking at Beckleysville’s operations, I will need about 10 freight cars. I have two, an AMS DRGW 3000 series boxcar and  a Foothill Model Works 20 ft high side gone kit. I want to scratch build 3 flats based on the Elk Creek lumber company’s flatcars and three ET&WNC hoppers. Two more 3000 series boxcars will be more than enough. I do want to  switch to San Juan Car Company’s couplers. Which one is still to be determined.

Since the Beckleysville train is a mixed, I will need a milk car, a passenger car, and a unique to Northern Maryland Ry baggage, express, and caboose combination car. I have a Bachmann baggage car that will become a milk car. I have two San Juan Car Company DRGW passenger car kits to build. The combination car is going to be a scratch-building effort.

As you can see, the project is going to have a significant amount of time devoted to building rolling stock. For me, this is not a problem since I want to learn more about how wooden freight and passenger cars were built and there is no commercially available cars.

(2) How big is your CURRENT SPACE and more importantly will you ever move?

Yes, a move is in my future. Beckleysville is going to be modular and will be portable. I designed the modules to be used inside or outside and they will fit in a 12×19 room.

(3) What qualities or memories are drawing you to the prototype? For the freelancer, why am I freelancing?

Modeling a small rural narrow gauge railway serving an agricultural community pre- WWI has always been of interest to me. The operations are a little slower, certainly not tied to a strict timetable. Ironically, they are a little more focused to just a few items. Coal, lumber, livestock, grain, corn, and of course milk. Less than a carload ( and narrow gauge at that!) freight and express. The ability of even this short narrow gauge railroad being able to bring mail, express, and other LCL items to a small rural village sounds like the nice slow switching operations I like.

The “what if” factor is what if narrow gauge had not only survived but somewhat flourished until the automobile and truck became more popular in the United States. Even the choice of gauge, 30 inches, speaks to the fact that narrow gauge somewhat flourished, even in the eastern US. Thirty inch gauge, more popular outside the United States as a common carrier, was used in western mining operations. It was used in Mexico, Brazil (EFOM), and in Argentina. Baldwin did advertise and build 30 inch gauge motive power. Some still runs in Brazil and Argentina in 2016.

(4) What do you want to get out of the layout?

I want to build my first multi modular fine scale layout. Along the way I would lie to improve many of my skills from design and telling a story, track laying, scenery, scratch building O scale structures and rolling stock.

(5) What scale/ gauge do you want to use for your layout?

This question came down to one thing, the availability of an ET&WNC ten-wheeler in On30. If an ET&WNC ten-wheeler had been available in On3, Beckleysville would have been O scale, three foot gauge. Same holds true for S scale. Actually I think I would have preferred S scale three foot gauge. I like S scale a lot, especially for modular layouts. However, it would have required modification of a Railmaster Export Sn3 kit, and time to do this is too prohibitive right now.

(6)Do you know how to make the scenery?

Yes, but the plan is to try some interesting new methods that I have been reading about. New materials and some old materials.

(7) Making a track plan

Next time: Paper, Pencil, and some frustrations

Layout Design: Beckleysville©

By H. Mathews June 2016

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