Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shortline Progress

Work is well underway now on the shortline component of the layout.  It will be the M&E Railway, which on my layout is the Minoa & Euclid, though the M&E in real life is the Morristown & Erie, a local shortline here in New Jersey that is largely Alco-powered and is a model short line in their operation and classy paint job. 

The M&E leaves the main line at CP282 and immediately climbs a steep 4.5% grade on a horseshoe curve up to a summit (required due to the oil tank location in the basement).  The line then descends on a 2.5% grade to a big through-truss bridge over Skaneateles Creek.  From that point, the line will climb again up a 1% grade along the wall and pass through a tunnel that allows the tracks to continue through the basement steps.  The far portal of the tunnel will be over the workbench, and the tracks come down a 1% grade into Euclid Yard at the end of the line.

Here's a view of the overall progress so far.  CP282 is to the right, with the short line diverging left and climbing the immediate hill across the oil tank and back towards the camera:

With grades like this, operations on the shortline will seem more appropriate with shorter trains and classic power.  The big C424, paired with either an RS-1 or GP7, will be a regular for the run from Euclid Yard down to interchange with Conrail, needed to move the 8-10 car train back up the 4.5% grade to the summit.  Smaller locomotives will call Euclid Yard home, and be used to switch the yard and the customers there:  a big brewery, and a car repair shop (the workbench).

So far, the benchwork is in place for about half the length of the line, from CP282 to Skaneateles Creek.  The final major benchwork construction is required to frame out the wall that will support Euclid Yard.  I laid some of the track from CP282 south, and now need to construct the bridge in order to finish the route.  This will be a very narrow section of railroad:  a total depth, front-to-back, of about 10 inches.  Backdrop and scenery will be key here in 'selling' the look to a viewer or operator.

Back in the 1990's, I kitbashed an Atlas C424 carbody and chassis to model Morristown & Erie 19.  I put a decoder in the locomotive over the weekend.  Here it is at Onondaga Yard: 
Since 19 will be a mainstay for powering my shortline, I needed to have a reason the unit would be in central New York.

This is where the 'modeler's liscense' comes in:  my story is that the fictional shortline was purchased by NJ-based Morristown & Erie, and is using the 19 under agreement with the 'real' M&E.  The line will have other power as well, but lettered and painted for the Minoa & Euclid, not unlike the Maine Eastern, which is a prototype contract operation by Morristown & Erie.

Finally, an action shot of train SEBU (Selkirk to Buffalo) with a wild lashup, including M&E 19, as it comes west through the interlocking at CP277:

The shortline, and the subsequent interchange, will be a key to the long-term fun of operating the Onondaga Cutoff!

1 comment:

  1. I am continuing to enjoy vicariously playing with trains in your basement. :)