Time is doctor Following my previous layout design that will depict the San Francisco peninsula and Santa Cruz Mountains, and before to start the work on tracks definition, I’ve spend some more time thinking in detail and ….
Ok, everything is “evolving” on this planet!
Here is the result of the evolution process : a different layout design.
A path to a different approach
As you can note on the Track-Plan page , here I've taken a different approach:
the layout now is basically a “single layer” , “around the wall”, and on the Santa Clara / Lenzen Ave. zone a “mushroom like” configuration appears.
I want spend my two cents to explain the reasons why I changed the previous design.
Maybe my consideration can be useful to others “starter” dreamers.
As soon I’ve all the main design clear in my mind, I start to figure the single steps to build my project:
I take some blank paper in one hand and start to write a list of … do "this" before, and "that" later and so on.
I’ve noted also a “predicted” time needed to complete each step, and calculated it as a “one man” hours….
I can’t repeat here what was the grand total! Considering that I’m still working and my spare time is limited to “after lunch time” and weekends …. The figure I’ve calculated ….means I was able to run trains in my next life!
In the same time I’ve started to find friends to share my interest, friends to create a “crew” to run trains on the layout and … you know.
I’m living in Italy and, believe me, find some US trains fans that live in the … 30 miles (?) range is a hard ( if not impossible) job.
Italy is a lovely place, but too narrow and too long!
In the middle of my search of I’ve open also a “virtual” place (the forum linked in my web site) to collect Italian US-RR modelers around an ITA-USA flag.
This experience (apart to find some friends) tell me a .......
Basic statement :
Design something I can do and run as a “lone wolf” in a reasonable time
Consider the "standard" crew and the "occasional" one for operation and adapt the plan to this environment ( my operation possibility is to play "occasionally" with a “consistent” 3-4 additional gamers.
Balance my skills and my favourite part of the Hobby:
I like scratch build structures, build scenery, add details, experiment automation, DCC and Signals...
and I don't like cut wood, run trains in a "furniture manufacturing" scene for a long time.
Given the mainly solo operation, have some emphasis to "switching, train preparation and run a trip" but maintain the layout ability to have time-scheduled sessions.
Still standing items and changes .... Shorting a long way, here my “given”:
Still considering the SF-SJ commute corridor in the pre-war years as my favourite theatre
Main game here is to play some “tight scheduled” morning / night commutes and intermix some freight “extra’s” as well some long run daily passengers or “football specials” trains
Lone wolf job can be limited also to freight preparation and relative switching in a busy yard and local industries.
Passengers consist are made by classic commutes 60’ Harriman’s as well 72’ and 80’ heavyweight and a consist of the first colourful Daylight.
The City’s chosen location ( 3rd & Townsend Mission style Station and MissionBay freight yard and Roundhouse ) give the opportunity both to scratch building models and supply big operation variables for a never ended story.
Still considering to model the Los Gatos to Santa Cruz branch, freelancing the line closure to years after the war.
This is mainly because I’ve spend several years living in these places and I like a miniature revival in some way.
Branch line traffic is not heavy, but interesting both by a modeller and operational point of view.
Passengers traffic is very low but “historically” interesting: Del Monte and Suntan Special are the VIPs but some Sunday extras can add emotions.
Freight service is connected to local industries (rock quarry, an old sawmill in the mountains and local products as fruits and canned stuffs, timber to local resellers, etc.).
A Narrow Gauge branch from Felton to Boulder Creek seams surviving from a previous design but …
the Espee standard gauging of all the line is on the way….
I have just one 4-6-0 steam and some rolling stock in the Nn3 scale so maybe a double gauge tracks line up to the mountains give more possibility (SP have done as ”temporary” solution too) adding in exchange some hand-laying track work
A single layer design will simplify my “hard” work as carpenter.
I never was able to reverse the entrance door to outside, so any lifting bridge plan in the area from the previous design was simply throw down.
Some pieces of real estate are consequently given back to the “Central Government” (storage for “leave here for the moment” family stuffs) and to the “Mechanical & Electronic Division” (my workbench have a better PC/CTC/DCC programming place as well scratch build/painting area).
A "purist" can note a strange junction track between the line before Santa Clara and .... Menlo Park! This is a "modelling license" to obtain a continuous run loop (for a train watching time sometimes). This track will be "hidden" under trees and buildings, so I hope is not so evident!
Staging: Given the "point-to-point" design two staging areas are the best.Again I compromise something:
On the stub side I leave only stub and freight yard tracks as "visible" working staging.
At the end of commute line in San Jose i will use one shelf of a library (cutting a tunnel entry in one side) and have a real staging area with some tracks to prepare "actors" for the scene.
Local freights running from San Josè to Santa Clara use the visible yards as staging.
Track design software:
If you want to use 3rd PlanIt version of the track plan:
You need to have a copy of the software by El Dorado Software.
Here you find a demo copy of this Track CAD software you can use to try