Friday, June 8, 2012


Track planning for the SP Cascade Line has alternated among sketches, scale drawings and full size planning using newsprint and photo-copies of standard turnouts.  Though the concept and schematic of a track layout feature might be outlined in the sketches and scale drawings, full-size planning often leads to the “ultimate” solution, including which direction (left or right) a turnout needs to split.  My experience with track planning has shown that a space “speaks” to the designer at full size in ways not seen in smaller scale representations.  Planning factors for the Cascade Line were kept generous to allow wiggle room for such inspiration.

With a track plan that provided for all major elements as seen in the previous post ( and with flooring installed, the time had arrived to lay out the track plan in full size on the floor.  This exercise provided adjustments to trackage that didn’t quite work out as drawn and opportunities to implement enhancements as they “presented themselves” in the actual space.

Laying out the turnback loop for the Salt Creek Trestle revealed a couple of issues.  First, the aisle space between the loop and the next lobe over, the Westfir-Oakridge track, did not lay out as wide as expected by the scale drawing.  A simple adjustment to the Westfir scene reclaimed the desired aisle width.  Second, the Railroad-East (downhill, closer to Oakridge) ends of the Wicopee and Cruzatte sidings nearly overlapped.  Moving both sidings two feet downhill (RR-East) netted four feet of separation, which should help separate crews at these two operating points. 

Revised Salt Creek  Loop

Laying out Oakridge at full size led to an adjustment to the wye.  It did not need to extend as deeply into the “nook” as originally drafted.  The location of the wye and engine facilities needed to be separated from the depot scene.  Chalk one up to post location in the room.  The Oakridge plan retains all tracks present in 1954, albeit with altered geometry.  The model still should operate much as the real railroad did in 1954.

Oakridge Wye.  Bins and boxes are located where Cascade Summit operator platform will be.

Oakridge engine facility in center foreground.  Depot located on the right, beyond the post.

Finally, laying out Springfield at full size revealed the turnback lobe needed to be moved further away from the basement back wall and outside door.  With plenty of space in the aisle (up to eight feet) between Eugene and Springfield, a shift of one foot was laid out.  Upon reflection, another foot adjustment may be implemented.  The full size layout of Springfield also revealed opportunities for additional industry tracks on the “Marcola Branch” tracks looped within the main line turnback lobe.   Other opportunities for industry tracks along the mainline were seized in the full size plan.  The resulting plan should provide lots of work for the Springfield switch crew.

Springfield lobe as seen from near the basement  doors leading outside.

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