Erie/EL yard @ Jamestown, NY using USGS Historical Topo & County Tax Maps

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EL JHW West Yard 200dpi.jpgEL JHW USGS 200dpi.jpg
Jamestown, NY Erie-Lackawanna (former Erie RR) Yard.

The scan on the left is a reduction of three taped together 8.5x11 copies of portions of the Chautauqua Co. Tax maps covering the depicted area. [FWIW, Each original tax map is approx. 2'x3' and showed more than I needed.] The area depicted is the westernmost yard. On the right edge, four of the five tracks lead to a smaller eastern yard (one dead ends about where the edge of the scan is). Being that the tax maps are of a larger scale it's a bit more accurate to take measurements off it (assuming the tracks were fairly accurately depicted).

The scan on the right is a x400% magnification of two USGS map details taped together (two diff. USGS quadrants/maps). The USGS scan shows both yards, topo detail, etc. and, when used with the tax maps, can confirm or question a particular detail; in this case track arrangements.

While I won't be able to model the yard(s) to scale, knowing the prototypical size may help me make good compromises and put things in proper relationship to each other. Most of all, I don't have to "invent" a yard ladder but, rather, adapt one that is differentiated and serves to identify this particular location.

[Edit: BTW, I indicated my where I lived, as a 3rd grader, at 'HOME' on the left 'Tax Map' scan.]
 
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EL JHW USGS ptd 50.jpgEL JHW USGS east ptd 50.jpgEL JHW Falconer USGS ptd 50.jpg

If I do decide to build a switching layout, based on prototypical operations of the EL @ Jamestown, NY, I feel I need to look at what I was looking at from a different perspective...to break down the local area into elements that might be transferable to the layout, what purpose it would serve to have them included, and how they might look. To do this I also thought about what prototypical actions might have taken place in each area, as well as, what was going on 'elsewhere' that could be shown (or hinted) on my layout. Using MSPaint I made notations of things to consider both individually and in context of the whole.

[Edit: Update - Using a combination of Google Earth and Google Maps I walked the line, took pics (screen shots), and measured out the length (three times) of the above sequence of sections. Approx. 28,500' (5.4 mi.)In N-scale this would be approx. 178'.]
 
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logandsawman

Well-Known Member
[..to break down the local area into elements that might be transferable to the layout, what purpose it would serve to have them included, and how they might look. To do this I also thought about what prototypical actions might have taken place in each area,.
This sounds like a good approach, I think the toughest part of any prototypical scene is getting it down to what will fit in your space as well as making sense as far as an operation goes.
 
EL JHW USGS ptd 50.jpg
This is the western-most portion of the Jamestown area...there's very little to consider farther west (southwest, actually) until one gets to Corry, PA where the EL interchanges w/ the PRR.
From l. to r.:

Blue Circle (bc)- 'Gaging Station'...there's a dead end track serving the gaging station, the parallel track running north is the old Chautauqua Lake Railway line. The 'V' shaped building (just outside the bc) are the offices of a scrap metal yard located behind (north) of the bldg. that had a yellow painted crane w/ magnet. There were several small 'machine shops' farther north...served by the depicted trailing point spurs. Next to the gaging station is the 'barely there' Fairmount-Jones & Gifford bridge (we called it the "boat landing bridge"). At the bottom of (within) the bc is the old Jamestown Traction Co. machine/repair shop.

Blue Parallel Lines at the Blue Circle- this is the 6th.St. Bridge which is about 30' above the rail grade below. It begs to be where I put a backdrop but then what do I do with the Gaging Station, scrap yard, and machine shop spurs which would end up being on the 'wrong' side of the backdrop? Leave them off, move them to the forefront of the backdrop, leave them on the other side of the backdrop?

Left Yellow Circle - The 3rd.St. Bridge (two parallel lines w/in yellow circle) is about 40-50' above the rail grade. It would be a better backdrop than the 6th.St. bridge location if it weren't for the fact it runs right over the western yard. Built in 1922 I can't pretend it wasn't there in 1963, can I? I'm not sure what to do about it.

From this west yard runs a spur across the Chadakoin River to the BPU electric plant and lumber yard farther on. I'm already thinking I'll have to rotate this spur clockwise 90 degrees so the layout aisle is "in" the river. That would put the spur perpendicular to the yard, in the foreground, and the electric plant against the backdrop (can cut the electric plant model in half to save space).

Thin Yellow Parallel Lines (to r. of Left Yellow Circle) - I think this rail overpass is actually two rail bridges (with W.2nd.St. passing below and south over the river). The concrete retaining wall and steep road grade would make a good backdrop boundary following 2nd. St. eastward past the Erie RR terminal (Right Yellow Circle).

Right Yellow Circle - This is the Erie Station and pax platform location next to east yard. Fortunately, the Washington St. bridge over this area hasn't been built yet. If anything, I think this yard would be the one I'd want to scale-out as much as possible, maybe, though I like the curve of the west yard.

Two Thick Parallel Yellow Lines (r. of Right Yellow Circle)- Just pointing out the location of the concrete "Erie Railroad: New York - Chicago" overpass that's popularly shown on the internet.

Light Green Circle - just a couple spurs to remember...in case there's room and inclination to depict them on the layout. I have to see if they served a business I want to depict...forget what was there.
 
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EL JHW USGS east ptd 50.jpg

l. to r.:

Light Green Circle - the same spurs from prev. post's right edge, not sure what businesses were served

Green Arrows - Look, a runaround!

Red Circle - Now we're reaching the industrial area of Jamestown's 'famous' manufacturers (Crescent Tool, Maddox, Jamestown Art Metal, Blackstone, etc.). The problem, though, is that the sidings/spurs run in diff. directions and between so many buildings. I'm not sure how/what to 'weed-out' and/or how to 'fan-out' what's here so it can be both seen and reached w/o reaching over model buildings (which would be 2-3 stories tall). I have no problem with rotating the scene but it's quite congested as it is; rotating (alone) might not help much.

Red Rectangle - Technically, this is a continuation of the area of industry in the Red Circle but is interrupted by 'Swede Hill' (not labelled on map...it's where "Jamestown" is written). However, Swede Hill could help make this area its own 'destination' of sorts. I could also use Swede Hill to 'turn' the layout (so it stays within the basement)...besides who doesn't like a good, big hill on a layout?

Red Arrow (above Red Rectangle) - Could be something, wonder where it served and if I should care? Well, at least I know it's there, now.
 
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logandsawman

Well-Known Member
Checking out some images from your town and there were several of the bridge you mentioned:

new york to chicago.jpg

Wish these were larger.

Only one depot shot, maybe not the one you remember:

250px-PostcardErieRRStaJamestownNY1909.jpg

Maybe I will mess around with these and see if I can make them bigger.

I presume this is the power plant across the river from the old station:

Jamestown power plant.jpg

One thing I ran into working with a club to do a protypical of the GN and NP in Pine County, MN. We had a heck of a time including the features we wanted into the space available, and make it look good. In real life, there were miles of forest between the towns that we needed to represent.

In your case, lots of streets and buildings between the notable features.
 
EL JHW Falconer USGS ptd 50.jpgView attachment 46120
This is the eastern most point of the Jamestown area (Falconer, NY is a "suburb").

l. to r.:

Red Rectangle - same one as shown on right side of previous post's pic; end of Jamestown's manufacturing area.

Black Arrows - indicate EL and NYC lines (see text, also)

Red Arrows - indicate interchange turnouts between EL and NYC

[Edit: Orange Rectangle - (on NYC RR line) - I remember seeing engines idling w/ a short consist on this track. I think it was used by both the EL and NYC, since track in Falconer,NY is sparse, as a by-pass and sorting/storage "spill-over".

Also, the "Gravel Pit" is a significant facility (if I remember correctly) with a huge potential for building/scenery modelling).]

From this point there isn't much to consider until one travels east along the EL line to Salamanca, NY and then Olean, NY (both of which have respectable modeling potential).

However, having the interchange with NYC, at Falconer, NY, presents some possibilities. This NYC single track route runs to Buffalo (in the north) and Titusville, PA (to the south) on the Dunkirk, Allegany Valley & Pittsburgh RR line. I wouldn't expect much traffic along it but it would justify an occasional NYC loco appearance now and then for some interchange switching. Maybe I could also use the interchange track as a turnaround wye. This interchange also gives me another opportunity to show a broader context (connection to "elsewhere") for the layout.
 
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Checking out some images from your town and there were several of the bridge you mentioned:

View attachment 46117

Wish these were larger.

Only one depot shot, maybe not the one you remember:

View attachment 46118

Maybe I will mess around with these and see if I can make them bigger.

I presume this is the power plant across the river from the old station:

View attachment 46119

One thing I ran into working with a club to do a protypical of the GN and NP in Pine County, MN. We had a heck of a time including the features we wanted into the space available, and make it look good. In real life, there were miles of forest between the towns that we needed to represent.

In your case, lots of streets and buildings between the notable features.
Thanks for taking notice. I realize I'm not really asking many (any) questions to encourage replies but I'm glad you see I'm sharing a thought process and open to any suggestions of restraint, opportunities, and etc. It's one thing to think things through and another to be expressing them (which can add a measure of clarity to the process).

Jamestown isn't "my town" anymore (since 1997) but I think it has some potential for modeling; more so than if I picked some place I don't know. At first I thought about total freelancing but to avoid being ridiculous I figure I'd copy a prototype which, if I get lazy or impatient, I can turn it into a hypothetical, freelanced "Jamestown"....okay with me since my name is James.

I have several pics on my hard drive but don't know, for sure, which I took and which I took off the internet. I'm fairly sure some of those on the internet were originally taken by me in the '80s & '90s....when I first thought of building a layout. I might check with a Forum Admin. about posting those pics that could be mine.

BTW, that's a nice one of the BPU...the Chadakoin River looks so clean (it isn't). That's the 2nd (of 3) Erie RR Stations...long gone. There are four to five RR bridge overpasses in Jamestown, all but one made of steel, that no one ever photographs. That concrete one gets all the attention because it has words on it, is the only one in a commercial retail area (the others in industrial areas), and can be seen from a greater distance.
 
Modeling Problem: Configuring Track for Access

EL JHW west prob3.jpgFor anyone interested in 'mind puzzles' and translating prototype track configurations onto a layout:

PROBLEM: If one is standing before the yard, with the obligatory BPU currently to the left, walking to the AVM siding [red arrow] and/or blue tracks of the scrap yard/machine shops [blue arrow] becomes problematic as it's behind the 'BPU' backdrop [purple line] and behind the line to Corry, PA [black arrow], as well as, behind the American Voting Machine siding [red arrow], and across the Chautauqua Lake outlet to the Chadakoin River...

...which I keep thinking should be the location of another aisle for this 'Boatlanding' location [the original Gaging Station was also used to weigh outgoing steamboat freight].

THOUGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS:

It's a given to put the main viewing aisle as labeled so one is standing in front of the yard and (rear of) the Erie Railroad station [small white bldg. outlined in dark green].
I left the outline of the 'cut 'n pasted' and rotated area so one can see what was rotated and to where.

The thick purple line is proposed backdrop location which generally follows the higher altitudes through the scene. It's been tentatively positioned to eliminate the need to model residential neighborhoods but allow the modeling of structures which define the settings.

I really don't want to eliminate the tracks shown in blue [blue arrow], for sentimental reasons, but I'm not wedded to them nor their current location/configuration...though, if they remain, they need to remain at the west end of the yard and relative to the Gaging Station [dark red bldg.].

Any thoughtful suggestions?
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Red Arrow (above Red Rectangle) - Could be something, wonder where it served and if I should care? Well, at least I know it's there, now.
That is interesting, but I don't think it originally terminated there. I'm guessing that used to be a branch that extended across that road and further north(?). The reason I believe this is because of the bridge. I cannot imagine a railroad building a bridge to service and industry that would only have enough capacity for 1 or 2 cars. I would think a bridge would demand at least 50 cars/month to be economically practical.
 
That is interesting, but I don't think it originally terminated there. I'm guessing that used to be a branch that extended across that road and further north(?). The reason I believe this is because of the bridge. I cannot imagine a railroad building a bridge to service and industry that would only have enough capacity for 1 or 2 cars. I would think a bridge would demand at least 50 cars/month to be economically practical.
Across the street is/was a row of Four-Square style homes with just enough room for a driveway in between (some are still there per Google Earth Street View). Also, East 2nd St. is a main thoroughfare that had double trolley tracks going down it. Also, not very far east (to the right) this street was crossed by the NYC RR tracks at grade. For these reasons I don't think the track crossed the street.

The building the tracks ended at is still there, still w/ a loading dock. As impractical as it may seem, I think the tracks ended there. I'll look into what the businesses on both sides of the bridge were...could have been same owner. Most of the owners of businesses along the river were both well connected and wealthy 'first families' of Jamestown until the late 1930's (just 50yrs. after first train came through).

All: Plz. note Post #9's problem.

[Edit: Right, 70 yrs....not 50...1860 = 1st train; 1886 = inc. as a City.]
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Across the street is/was a row of Four-Square style homes with just enough room for a driveway in between (some are still there per Google Earth Street View). Also, East 2nd St. is a main thoroughfare that had double trolley tracks going down it. Also, not very far east (to the right) this street was crossed by the NYC RR tracks at grade. For these reasons I don't think the track crossed the street.
I pulled up several satelite images and I agree. I see no abandon grade to the north. So they crossed the river just for a tail track. Of course looking at the river it doesn't look nearly so large on the satellite images as it did on the maps. Interesting.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Any thoughtful suggestions?
cut the blue area apart at the river and move it down and around to the right (like you did the red section). That makes the background common (but on opposite sides) for the yard and for the blue section. Of course you would have to squish the area a bit.

modifiedblue.jpg
 
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I think IDing the business the track led to might shed light on its apparent importance for its own bridge. Maybe this was also a transfer station during WWII...trucks loading directly onto RR cars. Maybe not likely but possible.

When one thinks of Jamestown it's usually in connection with furniture or metalworking. The tracks weren't there in 1905 about the time (+/- 5yrs) the houses were built but was there in 1946 right after WWII (during which steel wasn't used on unimportant things). I'm guessing between 1930-1943.

I think 99% of the time your observation would have led to a discovery that the spur did extend farther.
 
EL JHW west prob4.jpg
I took your idea, Iron Horseman, and came up with the above. I'm happy with the results of your suggestion.

But I'm not sure how I feel with the operator having to cross from the Yard Aisle, around the BPU/Lumber Yard spur, to the backside of the BPU backdrop, around the AVM spur (which may not make the final cut), to the Gaging Station area. I imagine the operator will have to be there, already, before the train leaves the Yard.

Given this is most likely the western end of the layout, I was hoping to use the largely un-operated line to Corry, PA for a layout return loop, somehow. But, as I fiddled with the Gaging Sta. area I came up with some use for the backside of the BPU backdrop as a possible staging area. Then it occurred to me, because of this area's visual separation, from both the Jamestown Yard and the Gaging Station, maybe I could use it as the Corry, PA interchange....if I could, somehow, introduce the train back onto the layout at the location indicated...even if the modeled Corry area is above or below the rest of the layout. I don't know enough about RR/layout grades to know what's feasible.

On the above plan the backdrop makes a funky triangle over the turnout from the Jamestown Yard to the Gaging Sta. area. Because I mirror imaged and rotated the Gaging Sta. setting I needed to conceal the now disconnected river and this seems the best spot. However, I wanted to keep the turnout accessible somehow.

[Edit: It just occurred to me I could elim. the backdrop triangle by removing the hypotenuse leg, which doesn't reveal the river disconnect. Duh.]
 
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