Model Railroad update!
Wow, post 1996! Impressive.
Anyhow, I can't sleep so I decided to write about my new plans for my train layout. I took a sleeping pill so I imagine I will get very spacy here in a while. So I will try to be fast.
My new plans will revolve around a fictional regional railroad which has a port town, and a division point connection with the National rail network. Several industries will dot the line, as well as at least one city, and several towns. I have a desire to build the line in the mountains, but we shall see how that fits into my industry model. The railroad will likely carry ore of some sort, lumber, grain, gravel and maybe some coal. The port will serve ore/coal docks and a grain silo. The lumber will head towards the national rail network. Several other industries along the way will also send and receive loads from the national rail network.
The fictional railroad will be mostly single tracked with some sidings which will be controlled by a CTC system. The controller will have their own room right at the top of the stairs in the train room. It will also serve as a workshop for rolling stock and locomotives and a small electronics bench. The trains will be run with DCC, likely utilizing the Prodigy system as I already have that system. I will also experiment with writing a custom program to control the trains directly through the dispatch system. The dispatch and control system will use a custom computer program, likely with web interface, to monitor and control occupancy, switches and signals using a similar system I developed for the previous layout with Field Effect Transducers used to locate trains using magnetic fields. None of that IR sensor stuff...
I will develop a fictional backstory and a paint scheme and SOP for the railroad as desired. The locomotive roster will likely remain the same at the moment congruent to what I currently have. But I imagine it will grow and fluctuate as the railroad's needs change. I plan to start out with a basic line, and implement modernization and the changes to the CTC and such as time progresses. I also plan on adding industries and tracks after the scenery has been put in place, and redoing various scenes. The line will start out fairly barren with some scenery and will gradually improve with time.
Ah you might say, but where is this line to be located? Well if you know the layout of my train room, you may wonder why I am placing my dispatch office right at the top of the stairs. But to me, it keeps it out of the way. I plan on moving my furnace to the area above the stairs, and then using a round the walls double deck design to capitalize on the amount of space I have to work with. There will be 3 peninsulas, one from each wall, except the stairway wall, and the back wall. The back will will feature a main yard on the lower level, likely no more then 6 tracks. Each peninsula will have its own floor to ceiling wall. This will help support the layout. The layout will be attached to the walls like shelves, with the lower deck being at a comfortable height for sitting, and the upper shelf being at a comfortable height for standing.
Anyhow, there ya go. Seems like a lot of work, but I like this idea better then my previous idea. I am sad to have to part with the Ontario Northland. It is a great railroad and it still has a place in my heart. However I have found that modeling prototype is not for me. I am a stickler for details, and when I am trying to re-create something that exists I find myself going crazy over the smallest details. It was not fun. I think it will be more fun for me to run a fictional freelanced railroad similar to the Ontario Northland, but in my own image and with my own backstory. I will be working on a name and starting a website for it soon enough. The Ontario Northland website will likely be retired, and I may decide to sell my custom painted Ontario Northland locomotives and spare decals.