HO Layout for Logging and More
Mid-sized design to host ops and exquisite craftsman kits
The owner's long-standing dream for this layout was "Believable scenery with interesting operations." While logging was a key industry to be represented, scenic inspiration was to come from the Colorado's famed "High Line" on the Durango and Silverton (former Denver & Rio Grande Western), but in standard gauge.
In addition, we needed to reserve space on the layout for a number of detailed craftsman kits the owner had built or was planning to construct.
There was a decent amount of room available for the HO single-deck design. While the owner originally had anticipated using a "U"-shaped benchwork footprint and strongly resisted a central "blob", I thought there might be just enough room width for a "G" using a spiral peninsula. This footprint would allow for a longer run, providing the ability for tracks to climb higher from a starting point in hidden staging below the layout.
Bill Obenauf's photo of his prize-winning log camp models that will be placed in Ojibwa on the layout
Click image for a larger labeled Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) view in a new window
The final track plan maintains a minimum mainline radius of 24" and grades at less than 2.5% (except for the steeper branch to Camp 7). While the arrangement is a bit of a model railroading cliché, I used the inside of the return loop "blob" at Birchwood for realistic engine service structures and the saw mill that is the freelanced prototype's reason to be.
I used John Armstrong's suggestion of crossing the tracks leading in and out of the other blob to narrow the central peninsula. This had the added benefit of creating the crossing bridges scene the owner desired somewhere on the layout.
You may read much more detail on the layout in the October 2011 issue of Model-Railroad-Hobbyist media-zine, always free for download on the web! The article includes more details of the planning process as well as under-construction photos and great craftsman kit builds.
The design includes some welcome flexibility in operations. The staging may represent distant connections of the logging line or interchange with one or more common carriers. Provision has been made for some passenger traffic and general freight along with moving those HO logs to the mill. So there will be plenty of operating fun when the owner takes a break from the kit-building bench.
Are you interested in believable scenery, interesting operations, or a bit of both? Please contact me and let's get started on your own custom model railroad track plan.