Friday, November 25, 2016

The Second Citrus Belt Railway & Previous Layouts

My second Citrus Belt Railway was built between 1999 and 2005 in Mission Viejo, CA. The design of this layout evolved from my two earlier railroads. Two residence relocations and the subsequent downsizing of available layout space triggered this evolution.

The original railroad (the Cajon & Santa Fe) was located in Corona, CA.  This railroad occupied a substantial portion of a 576 square foot family room.  There were few design restrictions with this amount of space.  For all its size, this railroad was not a particularly operations-oriented railroad.  However, over the years it did serve well for show running through many well-attended open house sessions.  The home containing this railroad was lost to a divorce. Rolling stock and most structures survived but not the scenery.

The second railroad (also in Corona) was the first Citrus Belt Railway. The concept of a dual era layout, generally representing Orange and Riverside Counties, came into focus with this railroad.  The available space shrunk to about 350 square feet shared between two adjacent bedrooms.  A small wall opening connected the rooms. To maximize both running and operations, the track plan featured two visible levels linked by a helix concealed in a closet.  The railroad was never completed, although most of the benchwork was installed and enough track was laid to allow simple operations in the larger bedroom.  The home containing this railroad was sold to accommodate a marriage.

The third railroad was the second Citrus Belt Railway.  In this edition the space available was the least amount to date, measuring but 165 square feet supplemented by closet space.  Several track plans were considered, most promoting long show runs and elaborate operations.  Each of these plans required a dreadful amount of hidden trackage, confined access areas and difficult construction.  In the end, the desired results did not justify the complex construction and maintenance requirements.

To permit both prototypical operations for experienced modelers and show running for the general public, I developed a three-level track plan with a walk-in design for the lower level and no connection between the top and middle levels. This plan eliminated most severe track grades, reduced hidden trackwork and abolished the need for a space-consuming helix.

The top level concentrated on show running with fairly simple switching operations.  The middle level was to balance running and operations.  The lower level was dedicated to staging trains, industrial switching and breaking-up/assembling cuts of cars for through freights. A section of connecting track with a moderate grade linked the lower and middle levels.

The detailed track plan for the middle level still was under development pending negotiations to secure trackage rights in the adjacent bedroom. This never was accomplished, however. 

The overall track plan was a compromise, but it was quite workable and achieved most of my original objectives.

Facts & Figures

Initial Benchwork: March 1999
First Operating Train: Sept. 1999
Scale:  HO (1/87 Actual Size)
Gauge:  HO Standard
Periods Modeled: 1956 & 1971
Room Size: Main Area = 15' x 11",
I65 sq. ft. overall.
Levels: 3
Trackwork: Code 83 mainline, Code 70 yards and spurs (all pre-fab) over cork
Track Length: Not determined
Minimum Radius: 24"
Maximum Grade: 2.5% Visible
Turnouts: To be determined
Control: Conventional DC cab control
Benchwork: 1/2" Homasote over 1/2" plywood over 1 x 4 pine grid.
Sub-Scenery: Casting plaster over Hydrocal-soaked Handi-wipes and Woodland Scenics plaster cloth, cardboard lattice, wadded newsprint and Styrofoam.

1 comment:

  1. Bob, I like your little scenes. Gives me some inspiration

    Alain Kap, MMR