Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Scene Selection What to model and what to leave out?

Although I am still very early in the planning stages of layout development, it’s hard to figure out where to cut off specific scenes or industries that I want to model. So far my list of industries and/or scenic features are as follows. More may be added as research develops. 
Station List of Seventh Sub

Station List of Eight Sub

Downtown area including T&D Feeds, and the Redmond Depot
 Building Specialties (this was the name in the 1990’s, not sure if the name was the same, or if a different company own the property in the time frame I’m modeling)
Possible frozen food industry (I just learned out this from a fellow modeler of the subdivision http://www.theinsidegateway.com/Woodinville%20Modelling%20the.htm)
Trestle over Sammamish Slough 

Woodinville Wye Complex and Yard

Woodinville Yard. Doubled Ended Sidings on all tracks

 Bellevue Yard and Associated Industries
This is the 1978 list of industries in Bellevue from the BN SPINS (Shipper Perpetual Industrial Numbering System).

K.L. Beverage (site of present Home Depot store near Wilburton)
Adelphi (site of present Best Buy store next to the above Home Depot)
Mutual Materials (Dock)
Mutual Materials (Hopper) (Just S of NE 8th)
Bellevue Paneling (Immediately N of NE 8th)
Sunset Glass (same siding as Bellevue Paneling. The business is still there!)
Interpace ( near where Whole Foods is now)

All the following are at the Bellevue Yard:
Fibres International
Team Track
Safeway complex on the hill (tracks #1 - #5):
Safeway Stores track #1 (grocery warehouse)
Safeway Stores track #2 (grocery warehouse)
Safeway Stores track #3 (produce warehouse)
Safeway Stores track #4
Safeway Stores track #5 (non-foods warehouse)
Safeway Stores track #5 (frozen juice)
Safeway Stores track #5 (frozen meat)
Western Kraft (dock)
Western Kraft (building)
Sunset Northwest
Safeway Stores Bakery
Societe Candy (syrup spot)
Societe Candy (Warehouse) (this became Vernell's and is now Lowe's)
Ken's Suburban Furniture

Kirkland (Industry List also from BN SPINS)
 Kirkland (Houghton area):
Pneumatic Tube
Seattle Door
Cascade Drywall
Pace Chemical
Old Globe Feed

Kirkland (near downtown):
Kelley Moore paint
Team track (next to existing Kirkland passing track stub)

N. Kirkland (Totem Lake area):
Monotherm Northwest
Durkin Chemical
Bel Square Furniture
American Prefinish
Simpson Building Supply
As a side note I’d like to get a hold of a copy of the BN SPINS during the decade to help figure out what industries were being spotted on a regular basis.

Wilburton Trestle
This is a signature element of the subdivision, but it would be a huge model if build in full size.
Other areas to possibly model
North Bend

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Scale & Gauge in Large Scale

Welcome to the wacky world of Large Scale were scale and gauge get confused. The problem is large scale uses a common track gauge of 45mm. The 45mm gauge is known as Gauge 1.  In Large Scale modeling a variety of scales and gauges exist on 45mm track ranging from 1/20.3 (3' narrow gauge on 45mm track) to 1/32 (4' 8 1/2" standard North American gauge on 45mm track). With all the scales operating on the same gauge track, it is easy to pick up your locomotive or cars, and take them to your fellow large scale layouts and successfully operate on them. Say your models are 1/20.3 and your buddy has a 1/32 layout, you both could run on each others layout without having to worry about track gauge problems. This could be compared to running On30 on an HO layout, or running HOn30 on a N scale layout. In the smaller scales this would never be acceptable, but for some odd reason it's okay in large scale. That brings me to my discussion of 1/29 scale on 45mm track.
For a variety of reasons, which I won't go into because it could take days, the scale of 1/29 exists on 45mm track. The track gauge is slightly too narrow to correctly model 4' 8 1/2" track.With 45mm track the correct scale/gauge combination is 45mm. I'm modeling in 1/29, but after spending a few years building my first layout I was never happy with the scale/gauge issue in 1/29. I kept hearing that it was not possible to regauge the 1/29 equipment to run on correctly scaled track. After some experimentation with USA Trains equipment I've discovered that it is possible to regauge 1/29 to the correct gauge without making major modifications. I haven't tried yet with other manufacturers so I'm not exactly sure.
Here's the numbers between 45mm gauge track and prototype track in 1/29 scale.

45mm= 1.7716"
56.5" in 1/29 = 1.94827"
45mm gauged wheel to the left, P:29 gauged on left.
A difference of ~.177"

A lot of people don't care about this difference, but to me it's noticeable.

Correctly gauged P:29 Track

Small section of hand layed track.
The point being that I'm going to attempt to build my layout to what I'm calling P:29 standards. The track gauge will be slightly wider than 45mm, but it will be the correct 4' 8 1/2" gauge for 1/29 scale. Throughout the process I'll be attempting to build as accurate as possible to the prototype track, this includes using large turnouts, and as big of a radius curve as I can. I'll also be using smaller code rail (code 215 or smaller) to better represent the lighter rail that was used on the branch line.
Yes I won't have the option to bring my locomotives, or have a visitor run their 45mm gauge locomotive on my layout but I can live with it. I wouldn't ask a HO modeler who models the 1930's steam era if I could run my modern locomotives during their operating session. So why expect/demand it in large scale?
#9 Turnout under construction

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The process of historical research

One of the reasons I wanted to model early days of the BN was the amount of research involved to accurately model the prototype. Some times its more frustrating knowing that you want to model a specific era, and location, but you don't have the historical information. Although research is an ongoing process that gets richer and richer the deeper you dig it can be frustrating at times. Modeling a specific prototype and era has plus and minus. The plus is you get to build everything yourself. The minus is you get to build everything yourself! That requires a lot of information, which isn't always easy to find.
So here's a list of some of the useful places that I found historical information for just the towns and buildings.
I'm sure it will grow.
Northern Pacific Archives, St. Paul, MN, held by the Minnesota Historical Society
Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association
GN-NP Joint Archive
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps specific to your state, county, or city. These can be hit and miss depending on the era your modeling. Most local libraries have access to the maps, most of which are online. The library of Congress has a lot as well that are not digitized.
Washington State Archives Depending on what the archives have for specific properties you may find structure drawings, pictures, plat maps, etc. With this you need to know the parcel number of the property. This can be obtained through the local county websites
Local Historical Societies. I've found if you call ahead and visit their collections in person you'll get some good information. Again this can be hit and miss.
Washington State Historical Preservation Office
Various specific online forums; for my case I try and follow anything BN related, NP, and GN related.
Wa. State Tax assessment files
Wa. State Tax assessment files

Each one of these archives has a slightly different method of acquiring information. Knowing how to search is just as important as knowing where to look.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Picking a modeling era

When I finally decided that I was moving towards prototype modeling I struggled with the concepts of place and time. After thinking about all of the areas that interested me, I settled on the eastside area. Under BNSF ownership the 7th Sub was the Woodinville Sub, and the 8th Sub was the Issaquah Sub. Knowing that I didn't want to model the BNSF, but rather the BN I was able to narrow down the time frame from 1970-1995. That's still a huge gap for a prototype modeler. I could either model the 1970's really bad, or the 1990's even worse. As I started doing research for a structure I found out that the Redmond depot was torn down in 1972. Having grown up in the Redmond area I never saw the depot, but the image of the depot stayed with me. So now I was down to 1970-1972.
The feed mill in the background of the picture is T&D Feeds which was torn down in 2001. After narrowing down my modeling period to two years, I researched some rail car designs that I wanted to model; one of them being a center beam flat, and the other a thrall all door boxcar. The center beam flat was quickly eliminated as being plausible, and further research showed that in 1972 only 4 Thrall all door boxcars existed in the entire North American rail system. In 1971, only two Thrall all door boxcars existed. How likely is that one of these cars made it to the 7th or 8th Sub., I'll never know! But I still may build either one of these cars down the line, but for now I'm trying to focus on the research aspect of this line including car counts, number of locals that worked the line, etc. The BN was also in the passenger business for a few short months from the merger in 1970 to the creation of Amtrak. By modeling 1970-1972 I could theoretically have a BN passenger reroute over the 7th Sub due to a washout, derailment or any other blockage along the coastline. So I settled on 1971 as the close enough year to model. In door modelers tend to be even more specific by modeling a specific season, but since this is a railroad outside I felt that each season could represent that season in 1971.
My other main goal with this railroad is to eventually host operating sessions with fellow modelers on a regular basis; rain, snow, sleet, sun! The beauty of outdoor modeling is you don't have to model the weather it comes naturally.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quick history of the area

A little history lesson. The area I will be modeling is located on the Eastside of Seattle, Washington. The railroad territory has a complicated and storied history. I'll get a longer history written up but for now here's the basics. The first railroad was the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern, in the late 19th Century. This was quickly purchased by the Northern Pacific. In 1970 the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, CB&Q all merged to create the Burlington Northern. In 1995 Burlington Northern merged with AT&SF to create the BNSF Railway. The BNSF railway sold the line to King County in the early 2000's, who then sold it to the Port of Seattle, and now a shortline railroad operates parts of the line (that whole saga could be a book!). Like any good branch line it used to have a lot of traffic but as the years went by and the BN (and BNSF) ran off customers the branch slowly died.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Modeling the Burlington Northern in the Garden

This blog will follow the adventures, trials, and errors of building a model railroad in the garden. Specifically I'll be focusing on modeling the former Burlington Northern 7th and 8th Subdivisions, of the Pacific Division.