Thursday, August 8, 2013

Expanding the Scope of the Layout

I've decided to try a represent multiple eras on the layout. While I am a huge Pennsy fan, the real Pennsylvania Railroad was long gone before I was even born. When I first went to Horseshoe Curve, Conrail was running the show. Since 1999, the line has been owned and operated by Norfolk Southern.

I Already have a fleet of modern-era freight cars and some Conrail and NS units. All I need to do is take the Pennsy stuff of the layout and put the Conrail/NS equipment on. I can even throw Amtrak into the mix if I so choose. Fellow Pennsy modeller Dave Vollmer does exactly that on his layout.

Okay, there is one little flaw in this plan. My trackplan calls for four tracks; Conrail removed one track in 1981. Oh well, when faced with choosing between accurate for the Pennsy or accurate for Conrail/NS, I choose Pennsy.

I've already started repainting some of my Cherokee Foothills locomotives into Conrail blue.  I will post some photos when they're all done.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Track Plan at Long Last

Well, after being distracted by rolling stock projects and other stuff, I figured it was time to get back to the actual layout. One thing that made my last layout successful was thoroughly planning out every detail. I designed Cherokee using Atlas free track planning software called Rightrack. Unfortunatly, after designing my last layout, my computer caught a virus and I had to format the hard drive. When I went to download a new copy of the program, I found Atlas discontinued the program.

In search of a new track planning program, I found XtrkCAD. As it turns out XtrkCAD is far more user-friendly than Rightrack and whole lot less cumbersome.

Here's the track plan so far:

What we have here is a section of the Pennsylvania Railroad main line from Altoona to Johnstown, PA. I've included Horeshoe Curve, the Gallitzin Tunnels, a short branch line to a coal mine as well as the towns  of Gallitzin and Cassandra.

The the basic main lines are done. The yards, sidings and staging areas still need work. I guess now it's time to decide which structures to include and plan the sidings accordingly.