Presenting the Alabama Central

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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Ok! Lets try this again.

After many months of negotiating, (begging and pleading that is,) the CFO of the railroad has granted me rights to the garage part of our basement for the layout. Overall size of the area I could use is 23x28ft. But due to needing access along the walls and such for maintanence and access from the driveway/backyard, I have developed a plan that is 17x23ft overall. There is access aisles of 3ft on each side except the top above Selma where there is a five foot aisle and part of that has my worktable in it. I am using a refinement of a plan that I have been working on for several years while waiting to start the layout. This will be number eight in a series of layouts starting way back in 1974. This is also the longest I have gone without one. The plan can be run as a point to point, point to loop, or loop to loop, where the loops are the staging yards. The operations will be governed by a windows based program of waybill generation, custom written by a friend of mine several years ago. These plans were drawn using Xtrkcad, a free download from sillub software at; http://www.sillub.com
I will explain each level in turn. The attached plans are in order of the discussion.

I have based this layout on a prototype RR, the Alabama Central that actually was based just northwest of Jasper, Al. until the mid 1930's. Jasper is also just northwest of Birmingham, Al. The prototype died during the depression era when the coal seam that was its only source of revenue played out. When the mines near Parrish closed so did the railroad.

However in my world the RR found new sources of revenue and expanded into a regional power. They expanded in all directions but set up main HQ in Selma, Al. my hometown. All names of the towns are real places in central Al. where I grew up and still live today.

The lowest levels are the two staging yards that make up the Browns staging and the Prattville staging. Browns handles traffic to the south, while Prattville handles traffic to the north. Browns also serves as the origination point for the GM&O interchange train that runs into Burnsville and Selma. Except for a short section over a creek, the entire Browns/Prattville area is hidden. All turnouts are accessible from the sides and there is enough vertical difference in the levels to allow for soldering irons, needlenoses etc. for any trackwork needed after the sections are covered. These will be the majority of the remote controlled turnouts on the layout.

The next level is the Selma division, which is the main level. There are several small communities along the mainline and I have taken the "liberty" of moving part of the Alabama River about five miles north of is current course between Selma and Montgomery, to allow for a barge dump for output from the mine. This is located in Fulton, which also got moved a little. The main yard is located in Selma, along with facilities for the care and feeding of steam locos. Occasional diesels come on the property via the GM&O and SRR but there are no facilities for them. The Alabama Central is a steam powered road. Burnsville is actually a junction between the lines from the staging yards, the branchline to Maplesville and the "run & hide" track for the Crescent Limited. The Crescent is a daily train that comes into Selma, gets serviced, the diner and RPO gets exchanged and the observation car gets turned. The train then pulls out in the opposite direction from how it came in and dives back into the hidden track for it until the next run where the process is repeated. Burnsville also has minor facilities for locos and a small engine house. Small locos no bigger than 2-8-0's are allowed up the branchline. Burnsville will be a very busy place as its also the location of the L&N interchange which takes cars eastward. The two Black circles located in the plans are the basement columns for this part of the basement. The entrance to the layout is a pivoting section on heavy casters attached to main benchwork by heavy duty hinges. It will swing out to allow entry, with just a minor duckunder. The track for Maplesville is almost 5ft off the floor here.

Jones is located on the branchline and is the site of the mine. I used a nolix to make the climb up to Jones from Burnsville. I tried designing in a helix but the grade would have been worse. I also wanted to have more of the nolix exposed but due to the location of the mine, Jones and the Mill villiage that is Jones proper, I found I had to cover it. I may change it at a later date, and play with the plan to see what I come up with scenically. This area is heavily forrested. The name of the mine comes from a small area just south of Plantersville that not only had some coal but was also the site of a small POW camp during the minor dissagreement of the 1860's. Just out from Jones is Mulberry where more industry is located, which brings us to Planterville. When planning a layout I use not only a trackplanning form for focus but any pieces parts from "commercial" trackplans from magazines, layout books and the like. Plantersville is a variation on a plan designed by Linn Westcott many years ago for a small switching layout. My version is slightly bigger. Since this area of the state is heavily forrested, except for the industrial areas and the townsites, scenery is mostly trees.

After leaving Plantersville we come to Stanton. A small community where the Frisco interchanges with the AC. The Frisco helps forward traffic to and from the west. The last section will be located above Jones and represents the end of the Railroad in the small town of Maplesville. There is a small turntable here for turning the 2-8-0's, & 4-6-0's that will make the branch their home. Maplesville is not really separate from the Jones sub, its just eaiser to see the plan, since its located directly above Jones along the outer wall.

I hope I haven't bored you with this long dissertation and explantion. I hope you enjoyed it.
 
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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Great plan Carey. I love the theme having basically grown up in the Jasper area. When ya gonna get started?
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Hopefully in a few weeks. Right now I've come down with the "creeping crud" and feel like crap. I have about a third of the area cleaned out. May have a garage sale shortly.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Grandeman: When is he going to start? :DHahahahahahahahaha!:D

It's about time you posted this excellent track plan. I can't wait 'till you start building it. Better yet, when I can bring my SOUND over and play on it. (to those of you that don't know, Carey isn't that into sound and I drive him nuts when he come to my Depot.)
 
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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
WOW - awesome plan Carey! Are you going to build the whole thing yourself, or are some of your Wrecking Crew friends going to assist you?
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
I think I'll be starting mostly with help from Grandeman and Rex. I'll be showing them how the Crew does spline roadbed.:)

Then there'll be the teaching sessions on handlaying track. :p

Then after all track is down and Rex has help me do the pennisula, I may let the Crew in.:eek: They have a nasty habit of moving so fast with scenery that I think they found one of the charter members plastered into the original layout when we tore it up after ten years of use!:D:D I don' wanna be #2.:rolleyes:
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Cjcrescent said:
I think I'll be starting mostly with help from Grandeman and Rex.
Rex, this will be a blast. Just think, we build an awesome RR, Carey pays the bills. What could be better?:D





In all seriousness, I'd be honored to help.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
The WC scenery boys don't like to wait for anything. They don't want to wait for the track to be bulletproofed as I call it. They swoop down and plaster anything and everything into the scenery. After relaying some turnouts on our old layout once they came in and before the track had even been debugged had the area scenicked. That may not sound too bad but they also plastered a couple of my track gauges in behind the scenery, never did get those suckers back!!!!
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Altered Levels

I've come up a variation in the levels between Selma and Jones. I moved the mine to the other side of the column and exposed a lot more track on the nolix on the selma division. Scenicly I think this works better. I also moved the miners houses to the other side of the tracks opening up even more possiblities.

Matthew, there really is no problem with the Crew. I just want to make sure every piece of track is in place and has functioned for a good long while before it gets covered with scenery. Sometimes they don't want to wait.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
CJ, aren't you gonna need a runaround track at the mine? If not, won't you have to push trains into it? Since space is at a premium (always is), I'd suggest a curved turnout on the mine lead to give room for a runaround. A three way tunout at the opposite end and a short loco tailing would be ideal, IMHO. Even with these mods, the situation won't be ideal for steam.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
GMan-That's one of the operating problems, I've built into the plan. Since pickups and dropoffs are done by small locos, the siding at Jones has to suffice. Makes the engineers really think. Would it be best to go on to Maplesville, making the stops/pickups/dropoffs, to get the loco turned or Go ahead and do it at their arrival at Jones. They may wind up with more cars than they can handle safely coming down the hill, (nolix) or what would be worse, more cars than the siding at Maplesville could handle.

Dropping a reefer or boxcar at the company store almost dictates that the engineer has to decide to either chance the trip up the hill to get turned to have a trailing move coming down or do more switching moves while he's there just switching the mine.
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Gman/Rex:

Here is the latest variation of what I was talking about. Note that I put a runarund track in the takes up part of the "machinery platform"/team track for that area. I drew in a 12" turntable but I can go bigger if needed. Hope not as any TT in a remote area would be essentially a bare bones affair, in a lot of cases an armstrong TT with turning power strickly the train crew. Works pretty well for a small TT not sure about one to take USRA 2-10-2's. Still working on a way to get a wye installed since that would be more prototypical.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
I still think the curved turnout on the mine lead would give more options. You might even be able to incorporate a wye or turntable into a runaround tailings track. Also, three way turnouts for the actual mine yard would save much space. Just my 02... ;)
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Another Revision:

Actually it not much of one. I talked with the CFO of the RR, (my wife) and she agreed that I could stick a "head knocker" out so I can have a wye instead of the turntable at the mine. Even though I have it drawn a certain length, it can be made longer for the bigger locos. I do have enough aisle space at the affected corner to go out more than 5', but no more than an engine length will be built. Since it will be about chest high at this point I have made sure that it will be well padded and also equipped with "fences" to prevent a brass Allegheny from hitting the floor. I also looked long and hard at a three way as suggested by Gman, but I decided naw. Given the wye has fairly generous radii, I will be able to run coal trains up the hill now pulled by my articulateds, as well as the 2-10-2's.

These larger locos will not be allowed past the mine in any case. The rest of the Jones Sub will be serviced by the 2-8-0's, and 4-6-0's I have in my stable, as originally designed. If you notice one of the support columns for the house comes up right thru the chemical/oil distributor. A perfect place for a "disguised" tank.

Another change I made was to add a small runaround track at Stanton to accommodate switching out the Frisco interchange. The only other change was at Maplesville, where I made the TT a little bigger.

The Selma Div. will stay as is, but the main action has always been the service on the "branch" out of Burnsville. As designed, the Jones Sub, can support as many as 6 trains at one time on it. The Selma Div, only 4. With access from both sides and the only "viewblock" being on the Crescent's holding track, I believe I can support up to 8 operators plus a dispatcher for an operating session. This however, probably won't happen, and only 3-4 operators will be present at a time.

I have always had the philosophy that you design a layout for a number of operators twice more than you normally will host. That way if someone new comes in to the group, after he is trained, poor pun:eek:, there wouldn't be a reason for anyone to stand around while others have all the fun.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Yup! That'll work good. You definitely want fences unless you want your brass to do like my Challenger.
Just make sure the CFO wears a hard hat.;)

REX
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Whadya wanna bet she's the one that knocks it to the floor????

Hope she don't see this. If she does I'll be "sleepin' wid' da fishes".
 




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