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Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 21:12:01 ADT.)

N SCALE: Railserve (Murfreesboro, TN)

This is a bit different from my usually designs: it is a track-for-track copy of an actual industry served by Railserve, Inc. (Railserve is a contract railroad services company that that provides in-plant railcar switching for over 70 companies in North America.) This layout is based on the General Mills' Pillsbury Plant in Murfreesboro, TN. This is where a Facebook friend of mine works as an engineer, and he provided me with all the background information needed to complete this design.

Since I wanted to do this with as little compression as possible, I decided to go with N-scale. While I copied the track arrangement almost exactly from Google Maps, I did take some liberties with the buildings since they weren't visible in street view. All the tracks that the railway uses are owned by the Pillsbury Plant. They built their own tracks and hired Railserve because they were not happy with the switching services provided by CSX.

The plant makes biscuits, cookies, and pastries and receives both flour and sugar in covered hoppers. The two delivery tracks are inside the "bulk shed" and each track can hold 1 load of sugar, and 4 loads of flour. The crew grabs the 5 loaded cars out of the inbound yard, and pulls them down the main and makes a run around move before pushing the cars into the bulk shed.

Just before the plant, there is a derail that the crew is not allowed to move. They must stop short of detail and wait for a plant employee to clear it before they can deliver the cut of cars. Empty out-going cars are pulled from the plant and stored on the "Tater Track" which is in front of a warehouse that stopped rail service 20 years ago. When the switching duties are done for the day, the crew takes its SW-9 to the engine pad and shuts it down.

While this is only a single industry layout, it offer a lot of switching work for a crew, and the track arrangement is very prototypical, so it is straight forward. The layout can easily be used to accurately duplicate an entire day's work for a crew. I realize this is not a layout for everyone, but I am sure it will pique the interest of a few.

Track Plans:

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Overall view of the layout:

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3D screen captures from the layout:

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TAGS: Design Feature: Based on Actual Location(s), Design Feature: Interchange, Theme: Single Industry, Layout Size: Small Layouts, USA (States): Tennessee, American Railways: Railserve


User Comments:

Posted by Ramon on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 9:51:35 AM.

I always like these kind of prototypical layouts, the only thing holding me back is I do not know how to operate such a layout


Posted by Robert Chant on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 9:12:01 PM.

Hi Ramon, with a layout such as this it is best that you know someone that has a good knowledge of the prototype so they can supply you with info on the operational side of things because duplicating the track work is not enough. Being friends with the engineer that switches this plant on an almost daily basis was they only reason this track plan came so close to the actual track work at the complex and I was able to label everything accurately. Without that knowledge, it would be just another track plan. I suggest you start joining Facebook groups and try asking members if they have such first-hand knowledge of a prototype you like. It has been my experience that railroaders are willing to share such information. Take care, Rob.


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