Oct 192014

I spent a good portion of my modeling time this summer modifying and super-detailing three Peco turnouts. I replaced the frogs with Details West #8 Manganese frogs, filed new guard rails, added fish plates and rail braces. The process was fairly simple, but time consuming.


Peco Turnout modified with Details West Frog

Peco Turnout modified with Details West Frog

Unfortunately, my gorgeous manganese frogs don’t work. The Details West frogs appear to conform to NMRA S 3.2 Trackwork Standard Scales, the depth of the flanges are .025″, but the NMRA S 4.2 Wheels Standard Scales allow for a wheel depth of .028″. It appears that wheels are allowed to be deeper than flangeways.

So I have to rip these turnouts out. I’ll replace them with Peco Electrofrog turnouts. I’m super-detailing each one with fish plates, frog bolts and point bolts. The first one has been installed.


Peco Electroforg Turnout

Peco Electroforg Turnout

Track Plan 39

 Posted by Greg Amer at 6:18 pm  Track Plan  4 Responses »
Oct 112012
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 39

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 39

The roadbed is in and before I lay track, I thought it’d be a good time to review my track plan. Am I happy with a proto-mash layout? Should I follow the prototype more closely? Am I happy with Peco track? Should I try Proto:87?

The High Fidelity Option

This plan follows the prototype arrangement very closely. It eliminates Franz Bakery & Terminal 115, and replaces PCC Logistics with Maxum Petroleum. I’ve eliminated half the turnouts, and opted to use #8 turnouts. I’m still working on a version with broader curves.


  • Fidelity to prototype
  • Larger turnouts.
  • Easier to figure out continuity of scenes and photo backdrops.


  • Only two industries
  • Only uses tank cars
  • Fewer operation options

For now, I’ll lay in another test track that follows this new plan. I’ve ordered some Proto:87 turnout kits and wheel sets, which I’ll be testing also.

Track Plan 36

 Posted by Greg Amer at 2:56 pm  Track Plan  No Responses »
Jun 252012


Track Plan - Industrial Lead 36

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 36



A little more dramatic redesign. Put’s Franz Bakery in the closet. Terminal 115 out in front of the Yard. Slides Seattle Lighting south and makes it a curved building. Reduce the “yard” to two tracks.

Primary reason for the changes is to better accomodate elevation changes from top of Industrial Lead down to the hole.

Drawn with AnyRail

Track Plan 26

 Posted by Greg Amer at 8:51 am  Track Plan  No Responses »
Jun 232012
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 26

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 26

Rearranged crossover. Redid code 70 sections. Updated to all Peco turnouts.


Drawn with AnyRail 

Track Plan 23

 Posted by Greg Amer at 10:28 am  Track Plan  No Responses »
Apr 232012
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 23

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 23

Not much change. Just made it 1″ wider on the south and west sides to reflect the benchwork.



I spent the early part of the day entering data into Easy Model Railroad Inventory. It has a lot of fields, to help you keep an extremely detailed record of your equipment. I entered a dozen freight cars and one locomotive. I spent a good deal of time entering consignees and shippers for the Operations features of EMRI. When I got a decent set of data, I couldn’t figure out how to print up a simple track list, I couldn’t figure out how to even get the cars in to a track. I don’t think it’s designed down to that level of operations detail. Quite honestly it’s a great program for keeping track of your rolling stock, but I don’t think it’s going to fit my operations needs.

Minimum Turnouts & Minimum Radii

Tonight I was thinking about minimum turnouts and radii. This is where I need to do some operating. I’ve designed everything with #6 turnouts and 24″ minimum radius, but I really don’t know what HO trains look like running on a #6 turnout. I know in N-Scale the #8s and #10′s look right, everything else looks too small. With these thoughts I designed an alternative Industrial Lead to use #8 turnouts and 28″ minimum radius.  This of course means fewer car spots & less yard space. Am I being too ridiculous when it comes to these minimums. The real answer I guess will come when I actually get some trains on a track and test this out.

Clean Up Progress

I’ve told myself I have to clean up the train room and lighten the train load before I start a new layout. I’ve listed and sold 226 auctions on ebay during the last two months. I have another 4 items for sale now and one tote left to sell.

I’ve consolidated the crap from my workbench (that never got used as a workbench) and placed most of it inside a new roller cabinet. I’ve consolidated all of my scenery stuff into a tote and placed it in the garage. I’ve finished glueing scenery and buildings to my N Scale Alaskan Shipping FreemoN Module and it’s going to the garage in the morning. When I get a pair of strong hands I’m moving the workbench to the work garage and the work desk (that never gets used as a work table) is being sent back to the Goodwill.

Next Steps

  • Finish clean up and reorganization of storage.
  • Finish sales.
  • Remove closet shelving.
  • Fix closet desk (it’s droopy).
  • Spackle holes in wall.
  • Paint room.
  • Build layout.

Track Plan 22 - Alternative Plan #8 Turnouts & 28″ Minimum Radius

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 22 Alternative Plan

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 22 Alternative Plan


Track Plan - Industrial Lead 20

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 20

I’d like to have two full spots on the layout at anytime. One full spot at the industries and one full spot in the yard. A full industry spot is 214″, I only have 192″ of dedicated yard tracks. I don’t have enough yard space to store a full second spot.

I’ve tried different methods to extend yard space, but they all result in a shorter lead or S curves in the yard ladder. The lead is 92″, the longest yard track is 76″. With these lengths, I should be able to pull out the longest yard track and maybe foot-board one car.

Maybe a 2nd full spot isn’t necessary. I plan to run the operations with sure spots and a full pull and spot would probably never occur.



How to play the Industrial Lead.

Session Start

  • Full or nearly full spot at PCC Logistics
  • Full spot at Cargill
  • Full or nearly full spot at Franz
  • Zero or one car on spot
  • Yard 1 full with corn syrup cars
  • Yard 2 full with boxes, hoppers, flats, reefers
  • Yard 3 full with boxes, hoppers, flats, reefers


  • Line up spots for PCC Logistics
  • Line up spots for Cargill
  • Pull Cargill
  • Set Pulls on Odom Lead
  • Pull and spot PCC Logistics
  • Pull and spot Cargill
  • Pull and spot Franz
  • Pull and spot Terminal 115

Some sessions will only spotting Cargill “the Hole”, which can be a wicked puzzle in itself.

Track Plan Changes

  • Slimmed bench-work. 14″ West. 16″ South.
  • #6 turnouts for yard ladder. old ladder used #5 turnouts
  • Code 70 track used beyond Cargill turnout.
  • Added cars to yard tracks to get a better idea of what fits where.
  • #5 turnout to Franz. Was #8 turnout.
  • Drew in slide out drawers (black rectangles). These will be for laying your switchlists on.

Switchlist Program

I’ve started working on a switch-list program. The initial database is written for Open Office. It’s OK, but not great (I like Access better). I can’t figure out how to store cars in a track yet. I’ve also started to look at using Easy Model Railroad Inventory. The program looks great for storing car data, but I need to learn the operations functions to see if they will do what I want.

Car Kind Codes

I’m thinking about using my own code for car types. It’ll be semi prototypical in that B is boxcar, C is covered hopper, F is flat car, T is tank car. But the next two characters will indicate length. For example T44 will be a 44 foot tank car. This is similar to the BNSF system which classifies by type, length and property (ex. T4I = Tank Car 40′-49′ Insulated). I think my new coding system will be most useful to operators looking to stash cars on the layout.

Jan 082012
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 13

Industrial Lead 13

Track Plan Updates
  • Moved Franz Bakery to the west side.
  • Moved the yard to the west side.
  • Rearranged Cargill turnout.
  • Rerranged PCC turnout.
  • Added a smll runaround.
  • Added industry Seaport Steel.
  • Added industry Terinal 115
  • Moved all shelves in to 18″ or 16″.
  • Eliminated Seattle Pottery.


Instead of detailing each iteration of the track plan, I’ve skipped ahead to Track Plan #13. This does stray some from the prototype track arrangements, but I think it’s as honest as can be given the space and desired industries.

I’ve added a runaround and two additional industries to make it more challenging. Seaport Steel is located on the South Leg of the West Seattle WYE. It takes falt cars with steel plates and shapes. Terminal 115 is located in West Seattle, at the end of the Avenue. It takes a lot of random specialty loads; including flat cars with machinery, flat cars with pipes.

I’ve decided it’d be best to keep the shelves under 18″. I had planned on modelling Seattle Pottery on the North side of the Hole tracks, but I decided it would be difficult to couple and uncouple cars with this building in the way. I still have PCC logistics in front of the tracks, but I think I’m willing to live with the difficulty of coupling and uncoupling here, because I ‘ll be mostly pulling and spotting the entire track at once.

I’ve moved the yard so it is next to Seattle lighting and moved the Odom Lead to function as an actual lead track. I think this arrangement gives me the optimum storage space and switching realism. In real life there is no yard and the Odom Lead is adjacent to Seattle Lighting and stubs out at Hanford Street.


Track Plan 03

 Posted by Greg Amer at 2:21 pm  Track Plan  No Responses »
Jan 052012
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 03

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 03

Track Plan Updates

I’ve refined the plan to incorporate an Odom Lead Spur, a runaround. It’d be nice to have a little extra operational opportunity) , an extra industry and moved PCC Logistics North. I’ve added more detail and labels to the plan.


View As Origianlly Posted on TrainBoard

Track Plan 02

 Posted by Greg Amer at 2:17 pm  Track Plan  No Responses »
Jan 052012
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 02

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 02

Track Plan Updates
  • Rearranged the lead track to avoid running it through the wall in to the closet. This will make it easier to switch. It also makes the yard larger. And eliminates 22″ radius curve in favor of a 24″ radius curve.
  • Added depth to the west side where the window sill is. This extra depth will make it easier to model the barrel roofed Seattle Lighting.


© 2012 Greg Amer
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