Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Outdoor Layout: The LBM&SBGW RR

Back in the 1920s, two pasta-industry magnates controlled a major part of the North American pasta market. L. Beau McAroney and S. Bud Getty elbowed their way to the top, wearing their signature bowties and starched collars. Using their noodles, they practised their craft: dinner, putting everything they had into a pot together. Sometimes their relationship was strained, but business soon mushroomed. Drunk with success, they hit the sauce for awhile. Sometimes their tempers boiled over, but it was never a question of every manicotti for himself. They had zoodles of ideas, including a few silly, but were committed to not living in the past-a. Concentrating on growing the business became part of their daily rotini, as did saving every penne they made.

They explored every farfalle-fetched pastability, choosing to regularly meet and have a ball.  They attended many souper Italian weddings. Environmentally responsible, they monitored their plant's carbonara footprint. Generously, the pair sponsored several local sports teams, including the Spaghetti-O's roller derby squad. They built an ornate headquarters building, shaped like an oversized handful of spaghettini, though they were originally interested in a "leaning tower of pizza" design. The pair was disappointed to find the CN 'noodle' logo was already taken. Dismissing half-baked ideas, and fending off a plethora of competitors like L.A. Zonia, Fred Achini Alfredo, Ray Violi, Alf Agetti, Lynn Guini, Mary Nara, Vern Iccelli, R.Igga Tony, Sem Olina and Sonny LaMatina, and the "Three-Als" conglomerate: Al Denty, Al Fresco and Al Forno, who eventually tipped their capaletti to them, conceding defeat. L. Beau and S. Bud invested in a world-renowned collection of macaroni art, posting it on their fridges. They considered themselves fridge magnates. 

For this summer's porch layout, I give you the L. Beau McAroney and S. Bud Getty Western Railroad. 

Serving the pasta factory, this switching layout includes a yard, interchange track, passenger station and railroad offices, and hop track. More about that later...

This layout differs from my past two summer porch layouts (the MMPP&BTCo and the GCL). It's an elbow, partially made from last summer's Greater Cataraqui Lines. This shape uses the front porch planter to support the left side of the layout, negating the use of a table to hold it up - just a selfie stick at right. After deciding on the elbow shape, I tried an early mockup of a trackplan. Front portion of the elbow:
 Side portion of the elbow:
Too many switches - switches gobble real estate on any layout. And the minimal leads for the run-around track spelled operational paralysis. Take 2 - the use of a 25-degree diamond to conserve real estate. (Wouldn't a turntable work well in this spot? But no.) Now, this was better. A screwed-down and slightly-scenicked final trackplan. Each end of the elbow includes two spurs, trailing-point or facing-point. The main track around the outside of the elbow is not really a run-around; more like a switching lead.
Viewed from the front door, with operator's position (rocker with chair pad) in foreground and front-elbow leg support and wires visible. The gerbera daisies in the planter keep watch. The Robertson screws I used for the track are visible from space, like the Great Wall of China.
The only challenge became - facing-point and trailing-point switches without a run-around track. Fortunately, there is a hop track. In reality, this allows the little 44-tonner to hop over to the next track, (from the far plant spur to the right lead, and vice versa) thus allowing it to travel to the left portion of the elbow to switch the two left-side spurs via the diamond.
If the idea of the 0-5-0 switcher moving the 44-tonner over one track bothers you, imagine instead that there is a sector plate/hidden staging/helix there! The green-roofed pasta plant looms small in the front portion of the elbow. Here's a labelled photo of the layout's points of interest:
The usual operating pattern involves cars for the pasta plant being moved from the interchange track on the left-side portion of the elbow, to the station. While here, the agent watches the cars to make sure they don't move! The 44-tonner then moves to the hop track, and couples on to the cars after crossing the diamond and reversing to reach the station. Reversing again, it once more crosses the diamond to switch the plant.
Tour trains are operated to show off the line to pasta buyers and other visiting civic dignitaries. Work extras are also still being operated. The president of the line's house is in foreground, part of his sizeable land holdings that cost a pretty penne, where he was often out standing in his field, as well as the cattle pasturing sideline with some hamburger helpers, and the chicken noodle soup and wagon-wheel repair shops.
I should add that all the buildings are glued to the layout. This makes it easy to lift the layout out of the garage, carry it on its side to the front step; put the support leg in place, pay out the extension cord; plug in power and attach track wires, add rolling stock and go! As the owners wisely observed - careful how you stir your alphabet soup or you might spell disaster!
I added Detail Associates' Rail-Scene land backdrops taped to foam-core support, Robertson-screwed to the plywood. Everything about this layout is transitory - because there's always next summer's layout looming! Following are some photos from a backyard operating session. The 44-tonner lifts a Pennsy hopper of coal from the interchange track (above) and adds it to some company cars:
Heading for the station via the diamond and right lead:
Switching the pasta plant. Cars of flour from a variety of roads, plus fuel and other supplies arrive - all in shortie cars to save space!
Backyard setup on the patio table - didn't need the selfie stick for support. YMMV - I have a Keurig in the Late Night cup and a banana bread bar on the transformer.
I heard a tap on the window. My wife's iPad photo op of my photo op. Fun!

Running extra...

Fellow model railroader and image king Randy O'Brien has been busy - he created a cool graphic for The Pasta Line. Check out the black border in which tiny Trackside Treasures trail!

My graphic pales by comparison, but I decided to give it a GO:


George Dutka said...

Interesting track plan and hop tracks...something to think about for a future diorama...thanks for sharing...George Dutka

Eric said...

Especially with such a tiny diesel. I was stymied how else to allow for through movements to the other end of this diminutive layout. I gave in to reason and it is an expedient way to move the unit around, although with some rules to keep the process codified.

Of course when I thought of the term 'hop track' I was still thinking brewery! Must be the temptation of a cold beer on the front porch while operating. Rule G need not apply in HO scale!

Thanks for your comment, George.

Michael said...

What a fusilli post.

Sorry, couldn't resist. Looks like a fun time.

Eric said...

Just about the fusilli-est one this year, Michael. It's all about the summer heat!
Thanks for your comment!