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1943 era model railroad layout

Started by willysmb44 , May 05 2016 04:03 PM

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#1 willysmb44

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 04:03 PM

I'm very far along in the build of a model RR layout that places stateside in 1943. The railroad is a fictional branch line of a real-life narrow-gauge railroad in Tennessee that folded up in 1950. The concept is for a fictional branch line that runs up into the valley my parents grew up in, at a time when they would have been little kids. At one point, I seriously wanted a Waco glider crash-landed on the layout to represent the 101st AB formations that came over the valley as part of the Tennessee maneuvers (my Dad clearly remembers seeing masses of C-47s and towed gliders overhead at his house, that year).

One section is a rail load area, that has scale Marston matting. I have a scale Quonset hut and I'm seriously thinking of putting that into one corner of that area. the rest is general photos from various recent states of completion. I got the scenery almost fully done and the track work totally finished.

I have a few stateside-marked Jeeps as well as some 1/50 scale 2 1/2 ton trucks that will need to be in the background as they're just a little out of scale for the foreground areas.

All the structures have war bond posters and such, and one building has movie posters for the exact timeframe. the few civilian cars have the correct license plates and ration cards. There's also a 'son in service' banner in the window of a farmhouse as well.

You can click here for more info if you're curious: http://www.freewebs....modeltrains.htm

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  • flatJeep.jpg
  • BulaBallast.jpg
  • Matting.jpg


#2 72psb

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 04:17 PM

Lee,
Looks great! It's nice to escape into another world once in a while.
Bob

#3 Ronnie

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 05:43 PM

This is so cool. Outstanding works!
Ronnie

#4 willysmb44

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 11:35 AM

Thanks, guys.

I also added a readable scale train bulletin chalkboard to each of the depots, including this flag stop (which is one of only three kits on the layout, all other structures are scratch built). Note the warbond poster on the other side.

 

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  • HunterStop.jpg


#5 ArtyScout

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 02:29 PM

Magnificent! A rail yard without a train, yet it tells the story of a war abroad, military equipment waiting to be loaded. This is a great diorama.

Thanks for posting this Lee.

 

Semper Fi.

 

Manny 



#6 willysmb44

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 02:55 PM

This weekend, I'll be running an operating session with some friends, and will try to get some shots of the trains running now that the scenery is really starting to look right, except for a lack of trees that will be coming next...

 

A rail yard without a train, yet it tells the story of a war abroad, military equipment waiting to be loaded.

 

Well, I took those shots to show off the scenery work I'd been doing.

I have two boxcars I made my own decals for to show WW1-era boxcars pressed into service. This is an alternate reality stance as this RR never ran up this way and never ran Army equipment (as the area between Johnson City TN and Cranberry, NC, where the RR was really running until 1950, had almost no military presence other than a few scattered national guard units).

 

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  • ArmyBoxcard.jpg


#7 doyler

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 03:05 PM

Outstanding work Lee!

This has really come to life.

#8 BEAST

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 03:09 PM

This weekend, I'll be running an operating session with some friends, and will try to get some shots of the trains running now that the scenery is really starting to look right, except for a lack of trees that will be coming next...
 
 
Well, I took those shots to show off the scenery work I'd been doing.
I have two boxcars I made my own decals for to show WW1-era boxcars pressed into service. This is an alternate reality stance as this RR never ran up this way and never ran Army equipment (as the area between Johnson City TN and Cranberry, NC, where the RR was really running until 1950, had almost no military presence other than a few scattered national guard units).
 


Looking forward to seeing it in action!

#9 Dirt Detective

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 08:16 AM

Looking good Lee...



#10 ADMIN

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 08:34 AM

Wow! Very nice work there!  Looking forward to see more!



#11 willysmb44

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 09:31 AM

The op session went well. Had to fix a track switch ('turnout' in hobby speak)  an hour beforehand but it worked out.

A great time was had by all.

I even used the train bulletin board to 'mark up' the crews for the session...

Note the lead boxcar being switched is one of the Army ones.

In the last photo, the Army spur is at the extreme right, I had just switched a flatcar with a Jeep on it into that siding. There's  large area of Marston matting there, I need to get some shots of that eventually...

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  • 20160507_183147_resized_1.jpg
  • 20160507_174430_resized_1.jpg
  • 20160507_174600_resized_1.jpg

Edited by willysmb44, 09 May 2016 - 09:39 AM.


#12 willysmb44

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 09:28 AM

I'm currently building a Quonset hut for the layout. More photos once I'm done.



#13 Chris_B

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 02:33 PM

Awesome! Maybe you could have a Sherman come out of a tunnel, too.

 

Now I want to go watch 'The Train'.



#14 willysmb44

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 02:51 PM

Can't really do much with combat-related stuff as it wouldn't make much sense. The Tennessee maneuvers was on the other side of the state that summer, so other than the 101st AB going overhead for their landing there, there was little or no military presence even seen way up in those mountains for most (if not all) of the war. Other rationing and all the able-bodied men going off to fight, WW2 didn't make much of an impact to that area, not nearly as much as other places in the US.

Now, all that said, I'm taking an alternate reality stance to the planned layout as there wasn't really a railroad along the creek after 1932. Here's my fictional history of the Stoney Creek Southern/ET&WNC Stoney Creek branch and locations in a modern-day context. All the location names are real places:


The railroad was started in 1898 and by 1900, cut East by Northeast from Elizabethton, paralleling old state 91 on the south side of the Watauga River. It crossed the Watauga at the bend in the river just east of the modern Lynn Valley Road bridge. Paralleling the current highway 91, it ran up into the hills where logging traffic kept the railroad going into the depression era. The railroad got as far as Dry Branch where locomotives were turned around and log cars were loaded. Originally chartered as the Stoney Creek RR, the line added 'Southern' to the end of the name to avoid confusion with state tax collectors over a competing logging line which ran mostly on the south side of the creek.
There were various station stops once the railroad crossed the Watauga River, notably at stops such as Hunter, Winner, Sadie and Buladeen. The line was chartered to go as far as Shady Valley, but never got that far. From the bridge crossing and interchange to the end of the line, the railroad was just a little bit over 12 miles in length. Turntables were put in at each end of the line to turn around the 4-4-0s and logging engines seen on the line after a bad grade crossing accident when a locomotive was facing the opposite direction of travel.
The line saw very little passenger traffic but the logging provided revenue until the 1930s. By 1936, trains were running only once a day, if that. Drowning in red ink, the Stoney Creek Southern offered a buyout of stock to the parent company of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina RR. By the fall of that year, SCS-marked rolling stock started to vanish and ET&WNC equipment started running up the valley. Although a separate corporate entity into the WW2 years, the SCS was in effect another branch of the 'Tweetsie'.
The third storm of the 1940 hurricane season (they weren't named at this time) caused much flooding in the region and washed out the SCS's Howe truss bridge across the Watauga. The ET&WNC filed for abandonment soon afterward, citing declining traffic and the cost of rebuilding the bridge. The ICC ruled against the ET&WNC once they reviewed the current condition of the rest of the line. The Watauga River bridge was the primary damage to the line, which saw surprisingly little damage from flooding along Stoney Creek as the line was built well above the level of the creek in most spots. Only a short section near the Speedwell was washed out and a review of revenues showed a lack of interest in running mixed trains as opposed to a lack of customers, most notably the logging loadout near the end of track and the large barrel component factory midway along the line. Several sections of rail were brought out of Boone when the Linville River Railway was abandoned. The ICC strongly pushed for use of the roadbed of the recently-abandoned Virginia and Southwestern RR (later owned by the Southern Railway) where it crossed the river. However, the railroad was rebuilt where it was. This remains the only known case of a standard-gauge railroad being abandoned in favor of a narrow-gauge common carrier in American history. ET&WNC crews would often point out the remaining abandoned SRR trackage and joke with traveling soldiers and newcomers to the valley that, "we even outlasted the big railroads!" Still, the line continued to struggle from lack of operational interest by parent ET&WNC.
Pearl Harbor changed all that.
By late 1941, the Army had already considered placing an infantry training camp somewhere in the Shady Valley area, but the lack of good roads prevented this. By the spring of 1942, the Army placed a Railway Operating Battalion into the valley with the specific mission to rebuild the aging SCS mainline (by now referred to the Stoney Creek branch of the ET&WNC). This was for the shared purpose of training Army forces in rebuilding damaged railroads for the future liberation of Axis-held nations and also to provide a good transportation hub into the valley for a projected training camp for the Army ground forces. New 55-pound rail was laid and new ballast brought in for the main line before the Summer of 1942. ET&WNC locomotive # 14, originally designated to go to the White Pass and Yukon RR in Alaska along with # 10, was instead headed into the Valley near its home rails instead for Army use. Many soldier-railroaders who cut their teeth on the ET&WNCs ten-wheelers went on to run trains on the White Pass & Yukon in Alaska as well as meter-gauge rail lines in Africa, Europe and Asia. The turntables were still being used but were no longer as useful as the shorter locomotives they were made for were no longer around. Turning a 4-6-0 on either of them was a balancing act with only an inch or two to spare on each end that none of the crews enjoyed doing.
By the spring of 1943, the SCS had been rebuilt into a line the locals could be proud of. The tracks were still weed-covered in the summer months and the sidings weren't exactly to any Class I railroad standard, but the track was in better condition than it had ever been. Commuter trains heading for the rayon mills in Elizabethton provided hundreds of skilled workers for needed defense work. Soldiers used the Stoney Creek branch to transport various loads of weapons, munitions, vehicles and supplies. The 3-foot line into the valley had never seen such traffic before, especially now that gas rationing had rendered civilian motor traffic all but useless without available gasoline.
It is now late summer in 1943. Locomotive #s 9, 11, 12 and 14 haul mixed freight, cord wood, military traffic and passenger trains for the mills almost round-the-clock. The Army is also using the line for defense purposes. Soldiers are often seen coming in and out of the valley, further contributing to the local wartime economy. It is the high-water-mark for the three-footers along Stoney Creek.



#15 willysmb44

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 09:39 AM

I did a lot of work on my cornfield last night. All I need to do tonight is to get the scale barbed wire onto the fence posts.
I'll probably put a tree to the right of the farmhouse as well as a further vision block to trains in the curve behind it.

I also have a 'blue star' flag for the front window of the farm house, will be adding that soon. I'm tempted to make it a gold star one...

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  • cornfield1.jpg
  • cornfield2.jpg

Edited by willysmb44, 12 May 2016 - 09:39 AM.


#16 Proud Kraut

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 10:51 AM

A complete cornfield?!?!?! Now THAT is something I havn't seen before. The landscape looks super realistic. Please tell us a little bit more about how you did that & post some close-ups of the field and it's surrounding

 

Lars



#17 willysmb44

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 11:49 AM

Lars, the cornfield was a simple exercise in expense and tedium for drilling all those holes. The field itself is reasonably small (more like a large victory garden) but not uncommon for that part of the country but I had to make it dense, as most cornfields are.
There are almost 400 plants in that field. Drilling the holes and mounting them with glue took about three hours.
They're made by JTT and they're not exactly cheap: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B003YK9Q6W I bought them one package at a time over a couple of years from my local hobby shop while I designed and planned the layout. I also scored a grouping of them torn out of someone else's layout (those went into the center along the back so you can't see some of them are not in the same condition) off eBay a while back as well.

I would have much rather they been tobacco plants as that is far more common in the hills of east Tennessee even today, but nobody makes them in O scale and nobody would recognize them anyway. Everyone knows corn when they see it if they've ever been in the country.

It was important to me to show a decent-sized patch of them as you said, it's not done very often (someone make pre-fab versions in N scale but they don't look that good as it's obvious it's a pre-fab plastic mat of them). I have room to expand if I ever decided to do more, but I doubt I will do so.



#18 willysmb44

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 10:16 PM



Please tell us a little bit more about how you did that & post some close-ups of the field and it's surrounding

 

Here's a close-up on the cornfield. Stringing a barbed wire fence proved very tough to get it symmetrical, but it doesn't look too bad.cornfence.jpg



#19 sundance

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:19 AM

Hey, if the house next to the corn field comes up for sale let me know - I'll gladly move in. It looks like life would be a little less hectic there and then. I think that's the magic of a train layout - you can go there. What a great looking setup. Please keep the pictures coming.



#20 mikie

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 08:16 AM

Just amazing!  If there was a scenic background in some of those pictures, I'd never know it was a model. 

Mikie



#21 willysmb44

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 09:28 AM

If there was a scenic background in some of those pictures...

 

That's coming. I cut the profiles of far-off mountains last night and hopefully will have them finished, covered and placed on the layout by the end of this weekend.
 



#22 willysmb44

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 01:02 PM

I need to get out my good camera and take some good exposure shots from angles like this which show the best depth. Of course, they have to include some Jeeps and WW2 stuff!

 

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#23 Proud Kraut

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 10:17 PM

 

Here's a close-up on the cornfield. Stringing a barbed wire fence proved very tough to get it symmetrical, but it doesn't look too bad.attachicon.gifcornfence.jpg

 

It looks super realistic! Not cheap for sure but well worth the money I would say. Thank you very much for the additional informations and the close-up of the field!


Edited by Proud Kraut, 13 May 2016 - 10:17 PM.


#24 72psb

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 02:35 AM

You can almost see Shoeless Joe Jackson coming out of the field. :D . You could put a couple of teens in there tasseling the corn. 



#25 willysmb44

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 11:58 PM

Just added two grade crossings.
Thought you'd like what I posed at one of them...20160515_004849_resized.jpg


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