Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

C&N Railroad Project - Pen to Paper and an Unexpected Event

Yes, I have been missing in action for a good bit of November, although its unlikely that anyone has really noticed. Starting off the first part of the month has been quite busy and while I have some draft postings waiting in the wings I have been unable to finish those quite yet. The biggest distraction was a trip to the emergency room which was diagnosed as gallstones and a "go see your doctor" directive to schedule surgery (although honestly they were willing to put me on the schedule Sunday night but he said I would probably just end up watching TV). Well I dutifully did that and saw the Doctor Tuesday morning who promptly told me that she had already asked the nurse to setup a room for me at the surgery, the gallbladder was coming out, that day if possible. The evening surgery got bumped and Wednesday morning saw me go in for routine surgery. Four small incisions, absorbable internal stitches and super glue on the outside and I was out of there. I have been in recovery mode since then. Today is the first day I have really felt pretty good, although the pain I felt through the whole thing has been pretty minimal thanks to modern day laparoscopic surgery!

I'm still reluctant to just sit down with the paints though as its easier and more comfortable to stand. So I broke out the big graph paper and settled down to make some initial sketches for the C&N. As I stated before each module can be no larger than 45"x 23". That really gives me a long and somewhat narrow mainline and of course even shorter since we will be building in O scale now. I skipped the fiddle yard section and moved to the first "real" portion of the railroad what I tentatively naming Salina. Adding industry in this area is kind of iffy, its not really that far up the canyon from Boulder and the grade on the real C&N at Salina was 7% pretty stiff for any railroad. I'm not hell bent on reality here so I'll be keeping things pretty level for the most part and a little bit of extra industry there and no one will likely no the difference.

I find a layout in the Model Railroad Planning 2011 magazine that looked like a good fit and sort of based Salina on this layout. In the meantime I also pulled out a couple of other references to sort through; Layout Design by Iain Rice (2010) and the old Building Your Next Model Railroad by Robert Schleicher (1989). I really like the Rice book because it brings all of his typical concepts together in one book with a lot more detail on how to go about things. I have been an avid follower of MRP since its inception even though I haven't had a focus on design in a long time. The Schleicher book brings together all the articles written in Model Railroading (Not Model Railroader) magazine, and there are a lot of concepts that were a bit ahead of their time back in 1989. 

So armed with that I started out on the initial sketch. Not to much to see at this point but its at least something down on paper. I started out with 24" radius curves and I would like to keep that going if I can and I'll try not to go down below 22" curves. The modules have been drawn in and a couple of track centers added for the initial curves from the fiddle yard to Salina and from Salina to the Bridges section. It looks a bit old school at this point with a steel ruler and old style compass for the circles. It would be quicker if I made some templates up especially for the turnouts to make sure that what I draw will actually fit.

If you click on the picture for a bigger version you can make out some of my initial penciled in notes and the two large circles that represent 24" radius curves. The compass was my Dad's during his college days and is older than me!

Everything you wanted to know from Iain Rice in one place. Despite his ability to squeeze in track that actually can't be replicated I like his style and his concepts.

There is always an idea or two I can take away from MRP. I always seem to have one or two laying around for quick reading. I subscribe to the Layout Design Journal as well but they aren't always as readable as MRP.

This is my second copy of the this book as I wore the first one out. Some great ideas and concepts were definitely ahead of their time back in 1989. I think the series of articles on  building this layout were sometime between 1984-1986 in Model Railroading.


  1. Well, some people noticed the absence!

    Gallbladder surgery is delightful fun, I had mine out nearly two years ago, although I needed a bonus incision to take the actual stone out. Hope you continue to mend, although if your gallbladder attack pain was like mine, then you will not sweat a bit more pain now to prevent more of it later.

  2. I'm glad I was able to dodge the bonus surgery! I was definitely in a lot of pain, presenting both in the front and in the back. I'm not missing that gallbladder right now!