Posted by: Roger | February 14, 2012

Revised Track Plan

I’ve been muddling through my ideas on a track plan. I know I can’t have it all, but I think I’m getting closer to my goal.

I didn’t like the way the Missoula yard was coming together, so I redid it and added the roundhouse and turntable. I’m not going to have enough room to approximate the 135-foot turntable that existed, but I can live with the smaller 90-foot turntable since I won’t be doing big steam. SD45s and U33Cs were the largest in my era. The two helixes (helices?) will descend to staging tracks that simulate St. Paul, Minnesota, and Auburn, Washington, or points in between.

I didn't like the first attempt at a yard. This is closer to what I want.

None of this is chiseled in stone. What is shown here is a rough idea of what I expect to put in place. The sugar plant peninsula is a vague placement holder for what will eventually be there. I really hope the Hoerner-Waldorf paper mill will be the signature scene on the layout, so I have not put tracks in there. I am sure I won’t be able to recreate the mill as it was, and I don’t intend to. I only hope to capture the essence of an industry with its many different faces over the years, not necessarily as it was in 1969.

To answer the question of “Why the sharp 10-inch curve from the Schilling siding to the paper mill?” Well, that’s sort of the way it was. The Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul, and Pacific built its main line through the valley in 1905-1909 or thereabouts. The pulp mill was built in the mid 1950s (no paper machines then) alongside the Milwaukee main line. Imagine, if you will, the Olympian Hiawatha passenger train passing by the stinky ediface of a sulfer-belching mill. Well, that didn’t last long. The Milwaukee ceased passenger trains on the Lines West shortly after the mill was built. At some point, either the Northern Pacific, or maybe Burlington Northern, built a spur from a siding at Schilling to the pulp/paper mill. If anyone knows when, add a comment to this post. The other question is why is that siding so LONG? It will be shorter and maybe have two tracks in the final plan.

As you may guess, putting a train on the tracks to watch it run around and around and around and around is NOT one of my goals. I want to move cars from here to there and back again. My main concern is not having enough industries to make an operating session worthwhile, but at the same time I don’t want to have every square inch covered with tracks. There was a match-stick plant at Superior (about 40 miles west), and phosphate mine about the same distance east on the Philipsburg branch that can add yard traffic.

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