11 June, 2014

New Layout Musings - Industrial Switching Layout?

Musings of the addle-minded train fanatic (aka me), are both sad & humorous at the same time.  Instead of dwelling on the sad thoughts of 'losing' my Doswell Layout, I decided to take measurements of rooms, in our soon to be 'new home' (aka downsizing to a 3 BR apartment), and thinking about what I could do, even in a small space. Following Lance Mindheim's suggestion he gave at a 2010 Cocoa Beach RPM clinic of "... figure out what benchwork will fit in your space, and THEN figure what will fit on the benchwork", I quickly came up with a benchwork plan for our 'hobby room' (Day gets her craft corner and  I get a corner in the same room). Hopefully, I'll have a workbench underneath, or better still right nearby.
Proposed Benchwork

After that, I was thinking about what industry I could model, that would still keep my interest and the flavor of my favorite railroad and location.  I thought why not model Bear Island Paper, which is an industry just East and South of Doswell Junction.  I quickly ordered Lance's book, How to Build a Switching Layout (see Amazon.com - How To Build a Switching Layout, if you're interested).  Hope to see that soon.  I then spoke with Marty McGuirk over lunch (definitely going to miss those, when we head south), and he gave me the suggestion of pulling some past articles he and Jim Hediger wrote about modeling specific industries in a switching layout (specifically, Paper Mills).  I haven't had the chance to do it yet, but what I did do was get on Google Maps and Google Earth, to see what Bear Island had in the way of rail served buildings, etc.  Here's the shots I got (so far):
Bear Island Paper, courtesy of Google Earth
Roofing shot, not tracks at the top; courtesy of Google Maps.

I quickly noticed that there isn't a lot of rail served components in this specific paper mill - the Coal-fired power plant, maybe some wood chip hoppers by the pile, and some tank cars to the plant in the middle of the complex.  The main thing is boxcars out, or finished product.  Not all that interesting.  And, I'm not sure why that hasn't gone t shipping out by truck as well, but I digress.  Hopefully, I can work with track planner and cohort in crime (MARPM) Bob Sprague (see his layout and track planning at Annapolis Junction RR & Bob Sprague's Track Planning Services), as well as VA Midland Shop's Shan Crabtree (see his layout and great custom loco & rolling stock work at Virginia Midland Shops, who's modeling prowess is up there with the greats, to see what I can get on that benchwork, that would be pleasing to the eye as well as operationally interesting.  A smaller layout allows for quick work on the track installs, as well detailing things a little more (hence, the roofing shot I got).  Figuring out my 'Givens & Druthers' (i.e. what I want, and what I don't want) shouldn't be too hard with this either, if I keep an eye for any 'blivots' that might pop into my head. If you don't know that term, it is ten pounds of poop in a five-pound bag, which a few novice modelers do on their layouts - i.e. too much track, modeling every track seen, trying to put all the buildings and details on, w/o being attuned to what 'looks good', etc.

So, while I'm tearing down one pike, I'm already planning for my 'next' model railroad.  Obviously, that gets the juices flowing for creativity as well as the frugal side of my brain, figuring what I can keep from this layout, to use for the future layout(s) in my life, and what can go to sales at the Great Scale Model Train Show, in Timonium, in about two Saturdays. Suggestions and questions are always welcome

A quick P.S.  I will save the time and typing of those modelers of the diminutive, yet equally interesting N-scale, to let you know that I won't be switching down; the way my eyesight's going, I'll only be switching up towards On30, but that's hopefully still a few years off! :o)


Bernie said...

Bear Island is a thermo-electric paper mill, not the chemical type paper mills one usually sees in the southern US. As such, it doesn't get the variety of cars that a chemical mill gets. On the plus side, it is a little more manageable size.

The main product from Bear Island is newsprint. I believe the WaPo was a big customer in your era.

If you want to try a chemical mill, there is a big one at West Point, VA.

Bernie said...

Correction to my earlier comment. Bear Island is a thermomechanical paper mill, not Thermoelectric.

"The facility manufactures newsprint.  The facility mixes 
newsprint made from trees with recycled paper. 
Bear Island Paper Company manufacturing facility consists of the following: wood yard, thermomechanical paper  mill, sludge dryer (not operating), B&W combination boiler, package boiler, wastewater treatment plant, recycle 
mill, and paper machine." 

Norman Wolf said...

Thanks for the update, Bernie! With that info, I have decided to look elsewhere for a prototype, as I don't think it will be operationally interesting enough, at least for me.