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"HONGZ" stands for HO scale, N scale, G scale, and Z scale.

Post your non-O scale stuff here!

Foreman J.L. "Hardnose" Hensen listens to one of his hands exclaiming how bad the track shot off toward the ditch once they started pulling spikes while another hand looks at all the work ahead of them to get this one straightened back up. However, when they're done, the last of the Slow Order that's been plaguing the KC&G of late will be annulled and the maximum allowable track speed from MP 248.4 Mountain Springs to MP 265.0 Ozarka will once again be the order of the day.

( Mom always said I had an over active imagination!  🤣 )

EDIT: Forgot to mention that Hardnose Hensen is in the brown jacket. Duh.

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Last edited by laming

Wow... I've really neglected this thread for a long time. Much has been accomplished in regards to the layout and equipment/etc. I've even uploaded a couple more essays. I'll link those right now for any of you that may have an interest in them.

First up is a essay/narrative about the advent of dieselization on the KC&G:

http://www.vscalecreations.com/kcng2.htm

And here's an essay describing a ride on the KC&G's Ozark Subdivision:

http://www.vscalecreations.com/kcng3.htm

And I haven't forgot the construction pics... all in good time.

Andre

Hi Mark!

Gonna get caught up on this thread? Boy... you've gotta a lot of readin' to do!

As for progress: The layout is 100% functional and has been since July of 2019. I've been having a ball operating it off/on over the past year or more with my railroad buddies. Love it.

However, the time is nearing that I need to pull the equipment off the layout for storage, and apply myself to getting the back drop boards, valance, and lighting strips installed.

Andre

Joe said:

"Andre, your account of the advent of the Diesels that did it on the KC&G is so realistic I was sure I would find the railroad listed in the Official Guide."

Like I shared above: Mom always said I had an over-active imagination!

I think there's been some minor refinement of the roster, but 99% of what you read is still the straight poop in regards to the KC&G roster.

I thoroughly enjoy the research that one can expend on their concocted theme. From the git-go, my goal for the KC&G  was for the theme to be as plausible as possible (that is, plausible to my demented mind). I've managed to do that to my satisfaction. Whether others find it plausible is up to them to decide. The most important one needed to be satisfied (me), is indeed.

I also thoroughly enjoy creative writing about railroading. I enjoy incorporating experiences I've had personally, or railroading friends experienced, or I've read and/or viewed in railroad media, and such as that. Helps to give my theme a life of its own, as well as builds "depth" to my theme. Shucks... even the characters I concoct help to bring it alive in my mind! (And I've known some characters in railroading!)

Your M&G:

There you go. Use that God-given imagination to come up with a theme that is first and foremost fun to you, and that is plausible to you. Accomplish those two goals and what others think won't be a priority. Sure, it always adds to the fun if others get on board with what you're doing... but the basic core of the theme must trip your trigger. No one else's.

Parting shots:

My region is in the midst of a winter storm that is quite different from what we're used to: Blowing snow with temps down toward zero Ferenheit with wind chills well below zero.  Seems to me for a perfect day to be piddling with my trains in some form!

All fer now!

Andre

"Covid-19 scare"... what are you talking about? Is that something you've seen on TV or heard on the radio? Here in the Ozarks we don't get out much, so we ain't heard nothing about it. What we have heard, is that there is some kind of beetle that is invading the USA. Hope they can put a stop to 'em. We've got enough varmints and critters to deal with down here as it is. But speaking of heard-tell: How 'bout them Hogs? Word is the football Razorbacks just might win the '64 Championship this year! Now wouldn't that be the berries?

Permit for a cab ride? No need. Come on down an' you can ride the Helper job with hogger "Biscuit" McHollister all day if'n you want.

Oh sure... some of the high-falootin' in the towns of Ozarka and Mountain Springs have a TV... but stuck deep in the Ozarks there ain't much to watch an' what is there to watch is awful grainy looking. It's said 'ya need to be closer to one of the larger cities so's they can pick up a better signal on the "rabbit ears". Lots of folk do have radios though. Shucks... some of the folk that come to the little country church we go to still have to draw water from their well!

Note: If I'm spinning a yarn "in character" about the Ozarks concerning the state of towns, common folk (and they were essentially all "common folk" in 1964, very few transplants from other states and for sure other countries back then), then I try to hold true to history in view of life in the Ozarks in the early-mid 1960s as I know of it through yearly sojourns to the Ozark region as well as history books. My parents were at least third generation Ozark. I am the only one in my immediate family (mom, dad, older sis) that wasn't born in (mom/dad) or near (sis) the Ozark region. My folks moved to KC in the late 1940s, I believe. I was born in KCKS in '52. Though I was born and reared in KCKS/MO until 16 years of age, after moving to Arkansas in Jan of '69, it merely confirmed I'm Ozark to the core. (To wit: While in KC, long before I was driving, I used to hunt squirrels and rabbits with my pellet rifle in a nearby wooded city park when I lived in North KC! Done right, fried squirrel/rabbit is mighty good eatin'! I'd skin 'em and prep 'em, and mom would fry them up for us for supper!)

Real world:

M&A: Love the North Arkansas Line. If there was ever a 300+ mile line that had little reason to exist, it was the North Arkansas! Yet, it survived in some form for over 50 years!

Midland Valley: I've lived in near the MV's territory for the better part of the past 42 years. (Save 2 years in western OK '84-86 and 3 1/2 years in Huntsville, AR late '86 to May 1990.) Every time I drive to Fort Smith, I cross the old roadbed of the mainline of the MV into/from the "coal belt" region I'm among.

Layout:

Now that I've had it up and running for the past 1 1/2, have hosted several multi-operator operating sessions, I'm getting ready to make some changes to the layout, some of the changes will be signficant. I'm giving up on the dual era concept. Instead, I will be focusing on its primary era and I'll figure something out for my "other" era of interest.

All fer now!

Andre

Thanks for the kind words. I enjoy creative railroad-oriented writing w/history and anecdotes mixed in among it... but I'm not too sure very many others enjoy reading it! 

Model Railroad/Railroading:

I've never understood just why some of us have a life-long love for railroading (and often express it with model railroading), I reckon it's just the way some of us are hard-wired, apparently.

My longest lasting friendships have been based in my interests:

Model railroading: My longest friendship dates back to April or so, 1969. That that friend is now in his late 80s. That friendship is still going. The next-oldest I met in early 1974, and is also still going. I also have several other long term model railroad friends from the mid-late 1970s on. The one I met in 1974 was also a long-term retired railroader. He's still a part of my operating crew board, as well as a couple others model RR friends from the late 1970s. He typically comes up from Pencil Bluff, AR (his home) and spends the night with me before an operating session, and the regional friend off the call board joins us the next morning for ops.

Motorcycling: Still have one that I touch base with, a school mate I met upon my move to Arkansas in Jan of '69. He's the one that helped set the hook on my dirt motorcycle interest! Just this past autumn, the wife and I rode our vintage dirt bikes (street legal "enduro" bikes) via backroads to Mansfield, AR and met up with Glen and his wife and ate lunch with them.

Anyway, those two interests, model railroading and off-road motorcycling, have produced some of the best friends I have.

Amazing the side benefits of model railroading.

Andre

Turning Point...

So I've had the layout up and operational for 1 1/2 years now. I know that I enjoy it tremendously, and it seems my operating crews really enjoy it.

Understand that when I designed and built this layout, I did so with the idea of running a dual era on it:

* 1964 using my KC&G theme.

* 1880s using my Ozark & Southern theme. (The KC&G acquired the O&S in the 1890s during its southward trek to New Orleans.)

Well, here's what I've learned in the 1 1/2 years my layout has been up and going:

* I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of having an operating layout again after nearly two decades of absence.

* I am loving (more than ever) my KC&G theme. (It's now proven itself since its creation back in the mid-late 1990s.)

* The dual era concept is in severe trouble.

My initial "dual era" thought was to incorporate some key replaceable structures (depots, add/remove water tanks/etc) to convey the passage of time. However, a dual era would also require keeping all permanent scenic support "generic" so as to have zero anachronisms to detract from either era. This would mean nothing "out of period" on the layout scenery (such as a paved road, which wouldn't have existed in the 1880s) as well as keeping any structures on the actual backdrop generic, along with many other little detail no-no's that I began to grasp. Once my initial enthusiasm for the idea I designed on the master track plan subsided, and I started having to think-through the elements needed to support a dual era, the idea got much more complicated than I expected.

Further, it has been a lot of work and a ton of money to acquire the needed (and some I want) engines for the KC&G as well as to equip them with DCC/Sound. I shudder to think of the $$ that would be consumed starting almost from scratch to equip the 1880s era!! As it is, I'm having so much fun, as well as willingly sinking my modeling energy, time, and hobby funds into my KC&G, that I really haven't done a thing with my 1880s idea. (Aside from the meager pre-layout collection of 1880s stuff.)

THEREFORE...

I am officially retiring the "dual era" concept.

My out-building layout is going to be the KC&G's Ozark Sub set in 1964. When the time comes for scenic elements, I can now add the scenic features that will support and enhance my 1964 era, instead of being restricted to doing a lousy job of trying to portray either era. (See the above "generic" scenery restrictions.)

Because of this decision, I can now undo what I feel is the worst feature of my layout design. Originally, my layout had that feature as way of turning a steam locomotive without a turntable. That feature is: The return loops in the upper left corner of the published track plan in this thread.

I've grown to dislike the "reverse loops" area shortly after the completion of my layout. It serves zero purpose in my KC&G 1964 era, and is only a "concession" to hosting a dual era. It creates extreme headaches in regards to any type of plausible scenery that allows minimum access at that location. Further, seeing as I haven't run a single 1880s era session, or even substantially ran the equipment, then the ability to turn a steam engine using either reversing loop is moot. It's nothing but a consumer of floor space as well as complicating and restricting the scenic potential of the layout unnecessarily.

So, I'm in the process of making sure I have the needed track, switches, and what have you, in order to pull the reversing loops entirely and reconfigure that corner. I'm liking what I'm seeing on paper with the "new" trackplan for that corner, and I like what it does for the ergonomics of operating. Lastly, I like what it's going to do for the visuals of the layout in regards to my KC&G's theme.

There you have it: Only 1 1/2 years into this layout, and yet a major revision lurks ahead.

In subsequent posts, I'll try to post a pic of the trackplan to illustrate the changes I will be making, and perhaps a photo or two of what I've already done to that corner. (I've already pulled the reverse loop switch and straight-railed that section, and already pulled some of the track off the loop itself.)

I'm liking what I'm seeing and can't wait to make this change happen at some point in the coming weeks/months.

All fer now.

Andre

You have chosen interesting railroading on which to base your railroad, Andre.  We'll look forward to further stories about the KC&G.

I remember the Midland Valley, too, from visits to family in Tulsa in the 1950's.  I always thought of it as an odd combination of secondary-looking track and multiple crossarm pole line.  Maybe it would be a nice spring adventure to head up to Wichita and follow any remains of the MV right of way down to Tulsa.

Joe:

Sorry to hear of your friend's passing. It can be tough.

I did Harley's from about Nov of 2007 to sometime in 2011-12. Wife would ride along with me. Favorite was the hot rod Deuce I had. Alas, she could ride but about 150-200 miles behind me on that thing, and that was with a high-dollar "Sundowner" seat installed. I used to do road trips on the Deuce and enjoyed them a bunch. Here's a pic of it out in AZ I snapped:

Picture2 076

However, I began to feel guilty having all the fun, so I asked if she'd like for me to trade in the Deuce and get an Ultra that had a much more comfortable passenger arrangement. She jumped at it. She made many a weekend trips behind me on the Ultra, and a big road trip to Colorado and back in the spring of 2011. She got the full spectrum on that ride! Hottest temps she rode through was over 100 degrees, coldest was the morning we left Silverton: 19 degrees! However, she was a trooper. Here's a pic of her and the Ultra after leaving Silverton (we're in Ridgway here) after it warmed up to near 50 degrees.

MySweetie

However, my life long love affair with the dirt bikes (and her like of it, too) won out. We began to trailer our street legal dirt bikes to Colorado and ride them instead making the trip on the Harley. SO, I sold the Ultra. She loves riding out in the mountains on her bikes. Here she is at a lunch stop this past November. That's her '73 Yamaha AT3 125 she purchased so she'd have a vintage tiddler (small bore) bike to ride with me when I ride one of my vintage tiddlers. (That's my '72 DKW GS125 on the right.)

VDS_111320_6

HOWEVER, I digress. Back to the topic at hand...

Foot Sore & Weary:

Only ran about 2 miles in Arkansas, nowhere near the Ozarks. However, it was an interesting railroad in its own right. Nothing operable remains of the FS&W except a short stretch of industry track on the Fort Smith RR in Fort Smith.

Tom:

Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you find an interest in what I'm concocting. I shall endeavor to keep this thread updated more often than I did in the recent past.

The MV was a neat little line. Really did run from nowhere (Excelsior, AR) to almost somewhere. It took a huge hit with the fading of the coal industry, for I think a lot of its income came from the Coal Belt of western AR/eastern OK.

Speaking of lines that were abandoned in my region, the empty roadbed that pains me the most is the loss of the Rock Island through eastern OK/western AR. I really miss that line.

All fer now!

Andre

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@Leroof posted:

Andre, been listening to The Band while reading your stories.....perfect sound track!

looking forward to listening up.


safe travels to you and your wife, spring is coming next.

Thanks for that post. I hadn't heard of "The Band" before you mentioned it. Some research was in order.

What I found was quite enlightening.

I always thought Joan Baez's version of "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down" was essentially the only version of it. Didn't have a clue where the song came from.

In my research, I learned that a member of "The Band", Ronnie Robertson, was the one that wrote "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down". I also found, and listened to, a live performance of The Band singing it, as well as "The Weight", etc.

Listening to band member Levon Helm's impassioned vocal gave an entirely new "feeling" to the song. I could "feel" the hardship war imposes as Levon sang of the plight of the Cain family. There was SO much more "feeling" than Joan's soft ballad approach.

Thanks!

Andre

Andre, hey there EZ Rider, don't you think it's about time for another progress report on the KC&G?

Have you ever visited Cliff Powers website that covers construction and operations on his HO scale layout, the Mississippi, Alabama & Gulf, which models the summer of 1955?  It has appeared in several of the model railroad magazines, and though now dismantled, still is active on Cliff's website.

His model of New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal is simply fantastic!

73

Joe

Last edited by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

Hi Joe!

Even though I've been splitting time between my interests, the KC&G has indeed been getting attention. One major update is a proposed revision at the towns of Ozarka and Mountain Springs.

Since I've decided that my Ozark layout in the out building will be strictly 1964 KC&G and not try to accommodate an 1880s era as I envisioned, that meant I could eliminate an element in the track plan design that was purely a ploy to accommodate turning small steam locos: The return loops in the upper left corner on the track plan. (I've really disliked that corner ever since it took shape.)

Here's what I'm going to do:

Lower level at Ozarka...

RevisedLowerLevel

Upper level at Mountain Springs...

RevisedUpperLevel

You can see traces of the erased loop on the above photos of the trackplans. This revision will greatly improve access to that corner, as well as opens up the scenes at Ozarka and Mountain Springs. Also note because of the revisions, I'm able to include small engine service facilities at the Clarksville Yard (lower level, on left) and at the Branson Yard (upper level on left).

As for the Clarksville/Branson Yards:

Originally those were merely designed to be non-scenicked hand-fiddled yards used primarily between sessions by yours truly for staging various through trains/etc. They were simply referred to as the "South Stage" (lower level) and "North Stage" (upper level).

Well, I learned that I had rather use an engine and switch out the cars instead of hand-fiddling. This gave me the opportunity to do some yard switching in between sessions. Well, that idea has grew to the point that I began to think in terms of placing backdrops and scenic the stages so they look like part of the layout and not sterile looking, bare Homasote covered "stage areas".

With this revision, the idea evolved further to the point that I now intend to use both Clarksville and Branson yards during a session. You see, with the above changes and the addition of small engine tracks at Clarksville/Branson, the "crew" coming on duty to take a train out of Clarksville or Branson, can now pick up the assigned power over at the engine service area, fire up their engines, check the Blue Cards and do any daily inspection (if required). Ready to roll, they can give a bell, toot a couple times, then ease out and get on their train. Once on the train they can pump some air (look over their manifest and running orders), then whistle off and head out! Mucho more fun than just leaving with a train waiting for them on a non-scenicked "stage yard".

I have all the needed switches on hand to make the above changes. However, creating sawdust will have to wait until after I host my annual vintage enduro tiddler bike ride coming up March 19-20.

OH... and about that desire for an 1880s layout... figured out a way to scratch that itch... but that's another story altogether.

All fer now!

Andre

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Andre,

No update on the Kansas City & Gulf for a good four months now.  Hope there hasn't been a major derailment that shut down the railroad?

Item:  Like you, I'm following the latest hooray's since Menards released their Santa Fe "F3".  Although it appears closer to pass for an FP7 instead, let's face it, it's not intended to be a model for the rivet counters, but a Nice Price introduction in order to pull their extensive line of ever growing freight cars.  No biggie that the AT&SF never rostered any FP7, afterall, it can still be a stand alone locomotive as if Santa Fe had just purchased another carrier like when they grabbed The Orient and added some x-NYC steam power to their roster as well.

The point is, it looks like Menards has a winner up front that may just take the O gauge market by storm with an affordable Diesel that fit's everyone's hobby budget in these lean times.  It was long overdue, and just look, the future of toy trains appears to be now!

Joe

Hi Joe!

Well, I've been piddling along with my HO layout, but for about 2 months I was pursuing a V scale project (Frisco Line, ca 1889-1890s) and sharing it with some interested friends for their use, too.

I did make the proposed revision. Here's some pics...

The de-construction of the reverse loop corner completed:

062321b

The reconstruction commencing:

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New plywood/Homasote in place:

062521b

Track work begun (re-connecting the mains):

062621

Track work completed in the corner scenes:

070521

The above revision accomplished a LOT:

* Eliminated the awkward eyesore the reverse loop accommodation resulted in.

* Increased yard capacity by over 30% at Ozarka, and about 25% at Mountain Springs.

* Gained a new industry track at Mountain Springs.

* Stretched the Ozarka town scene (lower bench, on the right) so it no longer looks as cramped and contrived.

* Ditto the Mountain Springs town view.

* Gained enough space that it allowed adding small service track areas at the stages. (The stages are now to become "Live" stages in that they will have scenery and backdrop scenes/etc.)

* Eliminated the contortions needed to reach some key (manual) switch throws as was the case with the deep scenes that resulted from the reverse loop "box" in that corner.

There will be a scenic divider between the town scenes and the stages. They are needed to help make the mental concept that the two scenes are separated by "miles" and not part of the same scene. I already have some cardboard mock ups in place and it appears the conceived scenic dividers idea  is going to do the trick.

While I was at it, I added another proposed revision: A new industry spur at Ozarka. I was originally going to make it a notable wood yard, but I was NOT too enthused about adding yet another wood product customer (there are several already). I felt I had enough wood product customers already to reinforce the Ozark idea. A long time RR friend of mine suggested a batch plant, so I would have an on-layout place for my growing fleet of short covered hoppers. I liked that idea, so I purchased a Kibri batch plant for use later.  (I also needed the footprint to determine the track location.)

Here's a pic of the new "Ozark Ready-Mix" plant area on the north end of Ozarka:

OzarkReadyMix

I'm now in the process of furthering some needed motive power projects and other fun stuff.

Thanks for jogging me about an update!

All fer now.

Andre

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Last edited by laming

Howdy fellow Frisco Fan!  Though I lean towards The Katy, I was raised just north of Dallas in Farmers Branch, TX.  The Katy, Frisco, and Cotton Belt all crossed in Carrollton at grade.  The X'ings were located just a cat's meow at the NW corner of the SSW depot.  The Frisco/SSW X'ing was right smake dab in the middle of Denton Road (!!!) until relocated just a dab to the west in the 70s when Denton Road was widened.

If I was to win the lottery here in the Fatherland I'd pay you to come remodel my basement room.  I love the wood paneling in your train room!

Despite the fact Ozarka Natural Spring Water has been located in Texas for years, it got it's start in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Why not consider a freelance water plant as an on line industry on the KC&G and ship the water across the USA in isulated box cars?  I think special KC&G "Ozarka" box cars would look pretty doggone cool!

Continued health issues have kept the wood panelling project on hold.  Therefore the Mineloa & Greenville Railroad is still a dream.  On paper, it's a onetime shortline that's gone regional, expanding from Greenville to Denison, with John Deere green and yellow motive power using the Katy's scheme with billboard M&G lettering on the Diesel power.  With so much vandelism in today's world, the M&G has retained the use of cabooses (Security Vans) with armed and dangerous security guards ready to protect the railroad and it's property, 24/7.

When I have completed selling off the bulk of railroad books, I'll start to purchase trains.  I have two dealers here in Europe.  Modellbahn Ritzer in Nuremberg, Germany and Trainmaster Models in Zürich, Switzerland.  Both stock US/Canadian model trains.  Both are international dealers and ship worldwide.

Time to hang the markers on this one.  Thanks for the KC&G update.  I'm just one of many who is interested in your HO pike and the progress yopu are making on it when your time permits.

Railroadingly yours,

Joe

Okay... now to update you on the roller coaster ride that has traditionally constituted my way of doing model railroading!

First off, the above modifications (the corner mods) were a huge success and the layout and operations are so much the better for it.

Secondly, I had seriously considered using the bench work here* in this computer room to scratch my 19th century itch and went so far as to design a layout to use said bench work.

* As a matter of info, I have 24" deep bench work around the walls of this 12' 6" x 9' x 6" computer/office room within our home.  It also passes through the 24" deep closet. This bench work has been in place since the very early 2000's and has been used to experiment with Sn3, 3-rail, S scale, a rather complex HO urban industrial, etc. It has served its purpose well, but never as it was originally intended (Sn3).

So, here's a look at what I came up with for a 19th century, Colorado theme, to reside in this small room upon the existing bench work that would allow for grades and helpers by using a "switch backs over the divide while the tunnel is being bored" concept. I could also use the tunnel track for continuous running when I just wanted to watch trains roll. (A desire for continuous running doesn't happen very often, but it can upon occasion.) Anyway, I present to you the plan for the "Colorado & Pacific":

CnP_Ver1_3med

However, no small amount of time has passed since the above concept. During that time, I've come to this rather sobering conclusion.

To be continued...

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A rather sobering conclusion:

I'm not getting any younger.

You see, I suspect many of us model railroaders have projects and things we want to do "one of these days". Just this March, I turned 70 years old.

I think "one of these days" is HERE.

That is, IF I'm going to finish up some of my goals I had for "one of these days", then it's time to get with the program while I still can.

That so, I began to se the 19th century layout idea having the potential of being a huge time sink. Time that I really don't have to allot to it IF I want to make significant progress on my KC&G theme. In my opinion, the Colorado & Pacific theme would be at least a 10 year project to ready the engines, rolling stock, build the structures, build the layout, and get scenery to a "reasonably complete" level. If successful, I would be 80 years old.

Sometimes choices have to be made.

SO... I seriously debated the thought of poop-canning the C&P theme idea. Besides, the overwhelming bulk of my exposure and experiences within railroading have been diesel. (Aside from the very few years I worked as an extra Engineer at the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas.)

For decades, I've been tempted to have a 19th century layout... but to date any concept I concocted never gained enough traction to displace my desire to model using diesels. Thus, the temptation to model 19th century steam might be one of those "day dream" things that's simply not practical for me.

THAT so, I would start the liquidation process on my steam stuff sometime in the next few months.

Now, as for my KC&G "Ozark Sub" layout in my out-building...

The NEXT "Big Project" for my KC&G theme will be to pack up all the equipment for safe keeping, then:

* Installing the back boards for the back drop.

* Smoothing/sealing/priming of same, then painting a pleasing sky blue.

* Install overhead lighting top/bottom levels, et al.

* Install the needed lighting valances.

* Install basic fascia.

I figure the layout will be OOS (Out Of Service) for about 2 months to accomplish the above, but, once accomplished, the entire visual experience and operational experience will be greatly enhanced and well worth the inconvenience. From that point on, choosing a place to create some scenery will be a realistic option for me. Accomplishing the above will be a major milestone for my KC&G Ozark Sub.

OH, but I do have an idea about this computer room...

You see, I would like a layout here in this computer room for those crappy days (pouring rain, nasty cold, icy, etc) that I simply don't want to hassle with the weather to get to/from my out building, but I want to run some trains and/or piddle on a layout.

For that, I'm thinking about reviving the idea I had a while back for a small, shelf type, diesel operated switching layout here in this computer room. The switching layout would also be set in the autumn of 1964 like my Ozark Sub layout. Thus, the shelf layout could use one of the KC&G switchers (that I have on hand) and rolling stock (that I continue to acquire) that would compatible for both the Ozark Sub layout and the small shelf layout. (i.e. I don't have to build equipment for it!)

Now, THIS idea may have merit and just might gain the needed traction to make it happen within a year or so.

More about this shelf idea in a bit.

All fer now!

Andre

Last edited by laming

The Thoughts We Have...

Here a couple weeks ago, right before we left for vacation, I'd been spending some time out in my Ozark Sub layout building. During some of that time, I had been running (operating) trains.

That operating session was the first time I had run a solo op in several months. Plus, it's been at least a couple months prior since running at all (with visiting operator, or operators). Running this op session solo, there were no personal life schedules to coordinate, no worries about mechanical or electrical issues (track and otherwise). No "body dodging". None of what accompanies hosting others to enjoy the layout with me. No, it was just me and my trains.

For a change of pace, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

At one point, I was headed south with a Extra 323 South. My power was an A-A set of EMD F's. (In KC&G paint! No undecorated units in the consist!)

I had brought Extra 323 South down The Mountain, and seeing as the 'Spatcher had added work to the trip, I had stopped at the town of Ozarka to make the few moves that would be needed. As I was accomplishing the set out and pick up at Ozarka, I found myself simply grooving to the visuals of the set of F's, as well as the cars easing along the track behind them, and the sounds that were being emitted from the engines by the magic of DCC/Sound.

My Ozark Sub layout is working out great. I was concerned about an aspect of it as it shaped up on paper, but now that I've modified that portion that had me concerned (removed that "compromise" section and totally revamped that corner), along with having operated on it for many sessions, I'm very glad to find that my Ozark Sub layout is tripping my trigger nicely. It's my most successful layout yet.

As I stood there enjoying the sights and sounds of the switch movement, I found myself thinking:

"I really should make some meaningful progress on this layout along with my KC&G theme".

Sensing this, makes me feel even more confident that I'm making the right decision to pull the plug on the proposed 19th century layout in the computer room idea and give more attention to my Ozark Sub layout. Even when the abandoned 19th century idea becomes reality, I will be in no hurry to remove the current bench work, or commit to a small L shaped shelf diesel powered switching layout. If there's a shelf switching layout, that idea will simply come along in its own time, if it happens at all.

In the meantime, I have things I want to accomplish on my Ozark Sub layout before summer's end, and then I truly want to make some progress on painting/lettering/weathering on the extensive undecorated motive power fleet I have in service.

There's much to do.

(More to come later.)


Andre

Last edited by laming

Now to try to bring this massive update to "where I'm at now"...

I'm 99% sure I'm going to abandon the 19th century steam idea.

I'm about 90% sure that that I am going to revive the small shelf urban switching idea I had before the 19th century concept iced it.

Remember, I still have 24" deep bench work going around three of the walls of this 12'4" x 9'6" office room that also passes into the 2' x 9'6" closet for staging storage. It utilizes a drop bridge to span the entry door. Upon this basic bench work, there have been several long and short term experiments. They are:

* The original Sn3 theme that caused the bench work to be built. It was originally "cookie cutter" with grades/etc.

* A 3-rail "KC Lines" theme which occasioned the Sn3 bench work being modified into a flat "table top" surface.

* An S scale (not hi-rail) "KC Lines" version. This was ill fated and what track was in place track was never in an operational state.

* Following my failed S scale foray, the bench work was to be repurposed again to be used for my HO scale "KC Lines" urban switching idea. The layout plan for my HO "KC Lines" theme was quite complex and could have easily filled the remaining years of my life. It would have offered extremely varied switching and operational scenarios.

* The out building and the Ozark Sub layout became a reality.

* Toyed with the idea of ripping out this clutter-some 24" around the walls bench work, and downsizing to a narrow shelf switching layout on one or, at most two walls. This would again use the "KC Lines" theme, but much reduced in scope. However, it was also be the autumn of 1964 (as is the case out on my Ozark Sub), and thus be able to use current KC&G equipment and current rolling stock if desired. (It is.)

* I then hatched up the happy idea of reusing the existing 24" bench work for the 19th century idea, and I sunk a ton of money into it. Yup, the same theme that I am now seriously considering abandoning. (It would have been a significant project that would have taken from my remaining time, energy, and modeling resources.)

Since the above, the existing bench work, the 19th century layout idea have sit and languished.


BUT...

The desire for a manageable small layout in this computer room is still resident within me. It would be so nice on those days/nights that it's just not practical to make trips to/from the layout building.

SO...

I have revived the idea of a layout in this computer room. However, the idea has been significantly downsized from the previous scope of the extensive HO scale "KC Lines" urban switching layout I had designed.

Along with heavily revising the idea (i.e. downsizing), I also envision a name change.

That is, instead of my urban switching layout reflecting KC's "West Bottoms District", along with a double track main line and a whole host of KC power being seen, I am now leaning toward making this much smaller in scope, more KC&G* specific, and calling it the KC&G's "Riverfront District". This would tie-in well with the KC&G's "Riverfront Yard" that was/is part of my paper history of KC&G's KC presence.

(* - Reminder: The "Kansas City & Gulf" is my own proto/free lance theme that I concocted many years ago and which I still model on my Ozark Sub layout.)

Looking over my stash of HO switch engines that was purchased for the around-the-room HO "KC Lines" urban switching idea, I do see that I can thin the herd by selling duplicate schemes (different #'s). That would mean a BLI CB&Q NW2 and a Frisco SW7 would be sold off. I would also need to make a decision on the Altas Gold MILW S-2 in the older gray and yellow scheme, as well as a Bachmann "Sound Value" ATSF Zebra S-4. Decisions, decisions.

Now, if I should go forward with this "Riverfront Switching District" idea, as was the case a couple years ago when I first considered a major downsizing and the possibility of having dual KC&G layouts, I'm still inclined to use the basic core of the mirrored Atlas Track Plan 13. Here's a look at a concept sketch using the Atlas 13:

CustomLine_L_RevisedMed

I would expect much revision of the above plan, such as narrowing the short leg shelf down to 18"/20", and increasing the width of the long shelf to 20". I would also expect to heavily revise most of the spurs/etc. What would remain is the basic alignment over on the right at the closet entrance, a run-around, and the wye.

However, I may find that the wye goes to the chopping block if it complicates space utilization too much. In fact, it might that the "Definite Maybe" design I end up with will look nothing like the above!

I have already been using the existing bench work and the stash of Peco and Atlas switches I have on  hand to mock-up certain key configurations to see how they will fit and what have you. Here's some pics:

Here's an overall view of the long wall. The opening in the far wall leads to a stage area where the "interchange" tracks will be. The back drop will need to be reworked, and all the photoflats in the picture are the wrong scale. I will need to re-scale my current crop of photoflats to HO scale.

040222_1

This is the wye area. It will fit nicely in the space it will occupy. Not only will there be car spots along the left wye leg, there will be one on the tail track, too. This will complicate (intentional) the need to turn certain cars to be oriented correctly for unloading: TOFC, and some boxcar loads. (Paper rolls, for example.)

040222_2

Here's a look at the entire L-shaped area that will be used:

041022_1

Yes, it's fun to dream about this, but frankly, my re-thought idea of a small urban switching layout has a much better chance of becoming reality this time around.

You see, a small switching layout that uses the same theme/era as my KC&G Ozark Sub layout could be very "do-able*". (i.e. Not requiring a new engine roster or rolling stock roster from the ground up.) If it does become a reality, then at long last, I would have a fun little layout upon which to operate (or piddle with) during the late night hours, inclement weather, whatever, right here in the house. (Thus avoiding a trek to the layout building.)

By "Do-able", consider the following:

* The smaller scope of this concept makes the entire package very practical, especially considering the thought points that follow.

* I already have theme/era compatible equipment on hand with more often being added.

* I already have the means to create the photoflat backdrop buildings and scenes, with many photoflats that can simply be re-scaled for HO use, and quickly printed-out for assembly.

* Left over from the bigger HO "KC Lines" layout concept, I already have a surplus of Peco code 83 "Electrofrog" switches on hand to equip just about whatever I design for the above space. Of Peco switches, I have five #6R's, four #6L's, twelve #5R's, ten #5L's. I also have Atlas code 83 products on hand: Three #4 wye's, and a 25 degree x-ing. I also have more than enough Peco code 83 flex track (four boxes). Thus, there should be minimal expenditure on track components. What Shinohara code 70 switches I purchased for the 19th century concept will go to the Ozark Sub layout for back ups for the Shinohara switches currently in place. Waste not, want not!

In recap, this KC&G "Riverfront District" has gained traction, and I'm quite sure I'm going to tackle it. The goal will be for it to be 100% functional by year's end.

THIS brings you entirely up to date about what has been happening my my model RR world!

All fer now!

Andre

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Last edited by laming

I used part of yesterday to clear some of the existing bench work of top clutter. I cleared off enough that the basic footprint of my proposed "Riverfront District" switching layout was then available. That done, I began to place switches here and there to see what I could come up with.

After some ploppin' n' piddlin' with switches (while listening to "Happy Larry's Request Express"!) I came up with something that I think can be a "start here" point for continued refinement. For future reference, I made a crude sketch of the schematic. This gives me a "Version 1" track plan for my Riverfront District idea.

From there, I dug out some more of my photoflats (wrong scale, but oh well) and placed them along the backdrop to give me an idea of how this could shake out.

Below is a pic of my area I have to work with, complete with O and S scale photoflats leaning up against the backdrop! However, if you have a good imagination and squint a bit... you get the idea:

041122_1

I'm liking what I'm seeing. I think this is going to be fun.

Andre

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Hi Tom!

Thanks for the kind words!

My "Photoflats":

I made them out of photos I had taken.

In a former life, I was involved in building CAD models and installing same into a "virtual" train simulator. I would use photos to "paint" the CAD structures. Here's a few examples:

TSM_BlackBearDepot

TSM_TunersBendDepot

And here's a tunnel portal being constructed. I used photos of some rock masonry work I had found and photographed for the "paint". Here is a screen pic of the actual program I use for such:

TSM_TunnelJenson

The above need taught me how to deal with imperfections in the photograph ("keystone", etc), as well as manipulate photos (removing high line wires, fixing windows, etc).

Once a suitable photo was "doctored" and ready for use, I then sized it, printed it out (in sheets if needed), then cut/pasted to mat board and attached to the wall. I have a sizable photo "library" with more being added as I find them. Some of the photographic subjects are older brick buildings such as appear on the "Photoflats" I used on my "mock-up" layout effort.

Andre

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In other KC&G news:

Painted some cast resin coal loads to become gravel loads:

041222_1

Each of my gravel loads comes with a special hidden surprise:

041222_2

You're looking at 1.0 - 1.25 oz of weight that is tucked away under each resin load. This helps to add some "interest" to handling gravel on the KC&G's Ozark Sub. Plus, seeing as there is variance in the weights, you never know when your train that was supposed to have adequate power for The Mountain... just might not.

By the way, I currently have something like 30 such gravel loads in service. I also have another batch of 5 or 6 coal loads on the way to become gravel loads. Also steadily acquiring more Athearn 34' hoppers (several different flavors) to cover the increased business. Slowly working my way up so that gravel business is BIG business on the KC&G's Ozark and Ouachita subs.

You see, the KC&G's Sales Dept. has really been working overtime. One area where they've hit a home run is with the quarry businesses. They've assured all the gravel quarries along the line (especially Arkansas Gravel's quarry that's on the KC&G's Ozark Sub) that the KC&G is indeed going to recover from their bankruptcy and will do whatever is needed to make positive there's enough hoppers on handle their increased production. Fortunately for the KC&G, there's a nationwide downturn in demand for coal, so 34' hoppers are plentiful on the used market as well as for lease.

Also in the KC&G news:

The KC&G has sent SLSF #214 (Baldwin VO1000) back to the Frisco at KC. Rumor has it that the KC&G bean counters decided the lease fee wasn't worth it. Got to be as savin' as you can, 'ya know. After all, one of the favorite sayings of the KC&G's new CEO is: "Waste not, want not!"

FWIW, once it reaches home rails and the Frisco puts it back into their power pool in KC, it's very likely that same unit can show up delivering/pulling blocks/cuts of cars to/from the KC&G's small receiving/outbound tracks that feed the KC&G's "Riverfront District".

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Very nice thread Andre'.. I always thought you were an O Gauger.  But I see your track plan and it is very interesting.  When I was stationed at FR Riley, we would go to KC on the weekends.  Was a great city in 1972 Circa.  Your layout takes me back to those days'....👍

Hi Ted! Thanks for the reply! Let's see what you said!

"Very nice thread Andre'.."

Thanks Ted. I'm glad you found some interest in my ramblings.



I always thought you were an O Gauger.

Me and O gauge:

I experimented using 3-rail for a "KC Lines" theme here in this small computer/office room way back in the early 2000's, but it didn't pan out. Here's as far as it got:

12thStYdLg

I then spent a few years trying to pursue the same theme, but using scale-sized S trains. That didn't work out either.

Lastly, I decided to go back to HO, and I've been with HO ever since, even designing an HO scale KC theme layout for this small computer/hobby room. (FWIW: The HO train set that hooked me into this hobby was my Lindberg Lines set I received for Christmas, 1962. That was a long time ago!)

HOWEVER, I do like traditional 3-rail trains, primarily PW Lionel and some Marx. (I own some of each.) SO, in that respect, I am "technically" an O gauger, but it's not my primary modeling medium... just a side interest I've had for a looong time.



"But I see your track plan and it is very interesting. "

Which one? My KC&G "Ozark Sub" layout that resides in a 16' x 20' out building, or my proposed KC theme to reside here in this small computer/office room? (Or the ill-fated 19th century layout for this computer/office room that I've scuttled?)  Choices, choices!



"When I was stationed at FR Riley, we would go to KC on the weekends.  Was a great city in 1972 Circa.  Your layout takes me back to those days'...."

Ah! You must be referencing my KC theme for this computer/office room!

Yes, I too, have very good memories of the Kansas City that existed during my time there. I was born in KC KS, lived in KC KS, then North KC until 16 years of age. (When my mom & dad and I moved to Arkansas.)

All fer now!

Andre

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😉 That's funny, I got my first HO set for Xmas in 1964.  Union Pacific. AHM, loco made in Yugoslavia.... That was some runner....... a few years later I built a very small layout with the same set.   And again more years later, I built another small layout. But now married and with kids.. Just didn't work out...  Almost 40 years later, I started building 1/2 scale structures to go with a 1/2 scale car collection... And then got into 3-rail and built a 5 X 13 layout..  That was 10 years ago.. Now that is long gone, and I will be starting over again.. This time I have a brand new 10 X 12 shed that I will be making my train room... Not exactly sure what the track plan will be.. Still kicking around ideas...

IMG_20220409_120703 [002)

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@feet posted:

Well done Andre. I've been checking out H O and a like what I've found and see. I'm a steam and early diesel fan.

Who makes the best locomotives and what manufacturer's should I stay away from ?

Hi again!

I'm not overly conversant with a lot of product currently on the market, but of the diesel engines I own, or have been around that friends own, here's some I could recommend:

Older mfg'er (1990s and up):

* Older Stewart/Kato F units.

* Older Stewart Baldwin switchers.

* Stewart/Kato Baldwin road switchers.

* Older "Yellow Box' Atlas/Kato engines: GP7, RS-3, RS-1, Alco C series.

* Kato RS-2.

* Kato NW2



New mfg engines:

* Just about any Bowser (formerly Stewart) offering.

* Just about any Atlas "Silver" (DC) or "Gold" (DCC/Sound) offering. Their "Classic" series is good, too.

* RECENT mgf'er Bachmann "Sound Value" (DCC/Sound) offerings. I "think" their engines are also offered as DC.

* Just about any Athearn "Genesis" offering. (Can be had as DC or DCC/Sound.)



Older Mfg'er products that have issues:

* Life Like Proto 2000 offerings. These have brittle axle gears that are always split. Replacement gears are available from Athearn and are direct replacements. To make P2K engines run great, they must be disassembled, the gear boxes disassembled and the gears and truck frames soaked in plastic safe de-greaser. Then reassembled (with replacement axle gears) and lubricated with a quality model railroad lubricant. (I use Labelle lubricants.) After that, they run really nice.

* Older Bachmann: Stay away.

* Tyco: Ditto - Leave it alone.

In fact, leave all the low-price "train set" engines/rolling stock alone. The quality is poor.

There's a lot of good stuff out there, but typically it's either new mfg'er or an established mfg'er that set the standards and their stuff is STILL good, such as Kato. Kato mechanisms were so good they could be found under all sorts of offerings by Atlas, Stewart, Con-Cor, etc. Of course, Kato also made their own complete engines: NW2, RS-2, GP35's, SD40s that I know of.

Hope this helps!

Andre

Last edited by laming

Killing a bit of time before readying myself to leave to go meet up with a group of long time model RR friends for lunch. SO... thought I'd post some pics and create some drivel.



Morning On The KC&G, Autumn, 1964...

It's a cool, crisp autumn morning as "Early Bird" Bryant stands next to The Shanty at the Branson, Mo Sub Division Yard's engine tracks patiently awaiting the arrival of the rest of the Day Job switcher crew. Early Bird and his crew won't have a huge day, but make no mistake, they'll earn their day's pay today.

041822_1

And here's a look at the Branson Yard Early Bird is gonna' be switchin'. By shift's end he'll have built the South Local, switched up the blocks for trains #31 and #45, and likely an extra south.

041822_2



And down south at the sub division yard in Clarksville, Ark, the Day Job's Engineer "Bulldog" Benson and Conductor "Mouse" Callahan are talkin' over the latest Razorback's football game. The Hog's are having a good season! Oh, and word is that with all the gravel off the Ozark and Ouachita Sub's now having to be weighed at Clarksville (the scales at Branson are OOS until further notice), that little D10 switch engine ain't gonna' be long for this world at Clarksville. No way it will be able to handle the weight of a full track of loaded gravel cars. Bulldog says it ain't no "Hog"... but more like a "Piglet"!  (Ha!) SO... it's probably going back to KC to be used at Riverfront Yard as well as being sent out to the one of the KC&G's switching districts, with the Riverfront District being most likely. So, it might not be long and we'll probably be seeing a road switcher being used as the switch engine at Clarksville.

041822_3

And here's a look at the Clarksville yard. Ol' Mouse is gonna' have his hands full sortin' out that mess and building the Gravel Turn, the North Local, blocks for #30 and #44, and likely building a north extra! Looks like the Night Job has already got a Coal Extra North ready to go.

041822_4

Meanwhile, right smack dab in the middle of the Ozark Sub at the sleepy little town of Ozarka, Engineer "Coondog" Bivens is dutifully at his post in the 412 as Conductor "Red" Baughman folds up his switch list and shoves it into his vest pocket. The crew of the Ozarka Switcher is ready for a long day at Ozarka. Before it's all over, they'll work the industries at Ozarka, switch out the in-bounds the North and South Locals set out, and build the Piney and Jack Fork turns. as well as block the out-bounds for pick up. Oh, and they just may be called upon to shove a train or two up The Mountain! The Ozarka Switcher is a good job in that you're home every night... but it can be a long one. However, even at that, it's a preferred job and only those with the whiskers can hold it.

041822_5

Maybe "one of these days" we can take our day and watch an entire day on the KC&G's Ozark Sub? That could be fun!



All fer now!

Andre

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Last edited by laming

Thanks Jerry and Stephen!

I have a lot of fun with my KC&G theme. As can be seen, I thoroughly enjoy the fictional side of it, too!

Currently I'm neck deep in some motive power and rolling stock projects for it, and the weather is getting closer to the time that I can start The Big Project on my KC&G "Ozark Sub" layout.

Shucks, I'm hoping to have my KC&G "Riverfront District" shelf switching layout 100% functional by year's end!

Andre

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