Saturday, December 6, 2008

Layout Design

After visiting Howard Garner’s layout I decided to get down to brass tacks and start working on my own design. The room is about finished, we only need to put down the carpet squares.

I started by looking at the Billy’s Island map. It will be the center of operations for the swamp. I’ve moved it around the room several times, and the more I think about it the more I want a long mainline run. Therefore, I’m going to move it back to the right hand wall.

I’ve got the room drawing finished and checked. I did forget to put in the floor opening and the two drain pipes, so I’ll do those tonight. With that done, we’ll move on to Billy’s Island.

The track cuts straight across the island. Some of the neat features are a wye, a lack of an engine house, the presence of a machine shop and supply house, and a decidedly Jim Crow layout of structures.

Billy’s Island is named after an Indian Chief Billy Bowlegs.

In capturing the Okefenokee at this time, around 1920, I want to capture the beauty of the swamp, and it ugliness. Things like the hard life the loggers lived, racism, the conflict with those that lived in the swamp, the wholesale killing of animals and the raping of the land, and the size of the majestic cypress trees.

By the end of the session, this is what I had. This is on the left hand side of the train room as you walk in. This puts Billy’s Island ½ way between the mill and the end of the line, which is about where it needs to be. Full sized locos handle the traffic between Hebardville and Billy’s Island, then Porter’s handle the rest of the traffic.

I got the wye in. Black and white lumberjack quarters. The shop will be a featured model with detailed interior. The church and the office, and maybe the commissary may be detailed. The trackage, while condensed, matches the same profile as the island. Liberties were taken with the placement of buildings as the O scale structures, even ones this small, are large and take up space. This island, while very large by model train standards, will have deep scenery to give it a rich characteristic.

The scenicked island has dense pine trees and some palms and cypress. The soil is sandy and palmetto plants grow everywhere. So when you walk in the room, the back side of the swamp is the first thing you see, then your focal point spins around and catches the detailed shop and wye complex. The sidings are about six feet long, which is more than enough for the loco and several log bunks. MOW equipment can be stored on the coal bin track, and the water/coal track will remain open, or holding a loco ready for work. All of the other buildings will be omitted, unless I see a need to drop in a very small shack for saw filing or what not.

Things to be included at Billy’s Island
• Wye for turning motive power
• Passing siding
• Indian mounds
• Machine shop
• Supply house
• Black and white quarters
• Commissary
• Cemetary and tombstone
• Well for watering the locomotives on siding
• Coal bin on siding
• Office
• Doctor’s office
• Bakery
• Theatre
• Garden

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