Model Railroad Planning 2013

Build Your Best Model Railroad layout with proven track plans, design ideas and expert advice. Model Railroad Planning 2019 is back with more small and mid-size layouts along with doable how-to projects. Featured stories include: • A compact HO layout depicting the Delaware & Hudson in the Alco Century era greets guests at a New York state B&B. • An HO tribute to the Akron, Canton & Youngstown, which provided a bridge route from the East to Midwest. • A superbly crafted multi-deck layout in O scale of the Louisville & Nashville during the steam era. • An L-shape N and HO switching railroad showcases the Southern Pacific in Oregon. • And much more!

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Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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5 min
a remarkable journey

As you’ll discover on pages 72-77, Andrew Dodge has taken a remarkable journey to rekindle his passion for scale model railroading. He had an On3 model railroad that most of us can only dream of ever building, but it was “fully amortized.” There was little ahead to challenge him as a researcher, layout planner, and model builder. He then sought out a new project that would inspire him for another several decades. As you’ll learn in his introspective commentary on getting here from there, he finally settled on one of those hard-luck cases that seems to inspire historians and modelers: the fabled Colorado Midland. Never mind that there was almost no commercial support for his proposed endeavor; he took that as a challenge, not an insurmountable obstacle. To be sure, Andrew is…

12 min
a railroad that feeds the iron-ore feet

Photos by the author Long trains of short cars, big steam engines, and massive docks loading ore into big boats are the brief images remembered from a time when a small boy visited Grandma in Duluth, Minn. I didn’t fully realize the indelible impression those memories made until years later as a lifelong interest in trains grew into a railroad career. More knowledge and research over the years has led me to a tighter focus on capturing the favor, operations, and switching needs of the iron-mining and steel-making industries of the Great Lakes region as I designed my railroad. The challenge for all the mines and railroads surrounding the Great Lakes was that the raw iron ore didn’t all have the same chemical mixture. The Mesabi Range ore alone was catalogued into…

1 min
the layout at a glance

Name: Missabe Northern Ry. Scale: HO (1:87.1) Size: Proctor Yard and ore docks 25 x 66 feet; overall 64 x 90 feet Prototypes: Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range and Great Northern Locale: northeastern Minnesota Era: early 1940s Style: multi-deck Mainline run: 1,000 feet Minimum radius: 30" main Minimum turnout: no. 71.2 with custom 60" radius Maximum grade: 2 percent Train length: 35 ore cars on dock turns; 60 ore cars on ore trains; 25 cars on freights Benchwork: open grid Height: 43" to 58" Roadbed: 2" Homasote splines Track: handlaid code 70 Scenery: rosin paper and white glue Backdrop: photos glued to tempered hardboard or drywall Control: Digitrax Digital Command Control with wireless throttles…

1 min
missabe or mesabi?

Native Americans in north-central Minnesota had a special name for a giant ridge covered by a massive forest of pine. Early European immigrants had their own ways of representing the sound of the natives’ word for “giant”: Mesabi, Missabe, Mesabe, and Mesaba among them. By the late 1800s, the world’s largest deposit of iron ore was discovered under this land. Two railroads in particular that tapped the Mesabi Iron Range did nothing to diminish the meaning of giant. Huge 16,000-plus-ton trains of 180 ore cars pulled by massive Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range 2-8-8-4 Yellowstones and Great Northern 2-8-8-0 class N-3 articulateds moved cars to the world’s largest ore loading docks on the continent’s largest body of fresh water, known as Lake Superior. In more recent decades, 220-car taconite trains total…

1 min
east is east and west is north?

The GN operated its Mesabi Division as east-west railroad with Duluth-Superior as the east end. Both the Twin Cities and the Iron Range are railroad west from Duluth. The Missabe Division of the DM&IR was operated as north-south, with Proctor and Duluth at the south end. My Missabe Northern has adopted the GN east-west designation to keep simple map orientation for operators. Wherever an operator stands looking at either level, east is always to the right toward Duluth, with the sun at his or her back.…

2 min
turnout geometry

A full-size no. 6 turnout is designed for no more than 10-12 mph operation, depending on railroad and era. But like most modelers, I didn’t want to give up the space needed to use prototypical-length turnouts, such as no. 8s for yard leads; nos. 10s and 12s for industry leads off the main line; nos. 10s, 15s, and 20s for crossovers; and in recent times even no. 30s with movable-nose frogs. A no. 20 crossover in HO scale is five actual feet long, yet it’s only designed for 35-45 mph maximum operation. Longer turnouts actually have a smoother design geometry than short turnouts. In other words, a no. 6 is not just a short, sharper version of a no. 10 or 20. This is because on sharp turnouts, the straight switch…