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Posted in Articles by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Tuesday, February 04, 2020 at 14:10:41 AST.)

ARTICLE: Duplicating prototypical track work as a small end-of-line station

This design was just completed for a member of a the Railroad Line Forums, who was looking for some inspiration for a small layout project he was considering. The design depicts the small rural station of Werley (WI) on the Chicago & North Western RR's "Dinky Line".

Although the diagram below is not entirely accurate, it is a simple rendition of the track work at Werley Station. As you can see from this diagram, Werley was actually a thru-station on the narrow gauge line, but I used it as a basis for an end-of-branch line terminal with some modifications.

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In additional to the diagram, I found a small, more accurate map of the area online that I also used to help with the design. (I also found a topo map of the area to fill in some more details).

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A few photos taken at Werley Station:

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Of course I had to alter a few features, most notably was putting the stock yard and pulpwood lot on a separate spur track. This was done because I felt that the design was not going to work as an end-of-line station without having a clear run-around. I also made the creamery rail-served (the original creamery was served via the platform at the station), and gave it both an ice house (the jut-out in the building) and a milk loading platform.

My other option, which I quickly rejected, was adding another double-ended track, but I thought that by adding just a spur kept things a bit closer to the feel of the original track arrangement. Also, adding a second track as a run-around, didn't work that well in the 6-foot long space.

The resulting track plan for Werley Station:

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Overall views of the layout:

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3D screen captures from the layout:

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Although the resulting design looks simple, it offers enough prototypical operations in a small space to make it an interesting layout. So besides coming up with the design, I also offer some of my thoughts on operations of the layout. The one thing I didn't want was for the turntable to have to be used during switching moves, and the other big issues was coming up with a way to deal with the creamery being served from the mainline.

Detailed Steps:

-- At the beginning of an op-session, I see cars only on the spur track, spotted on the previous day. It might be a few stock cars and a loaded pulpwood car or two, but that would be all that is left in town from the previous session.

-- When today's mixed comes into town, it arrives on the track behind the station (I will call it the north track.) The train must arrive with the reefer car for the creamery and the coach as the last two cars in the consist.

-- The loco uncouples from the train, runs thru the west switch and pulls onto the TT where it is turned. (The loco shouldn't have to use the TT, or the west switch again.)

-- After turning, the loco runs down the mainline (south track) past the station and the east turnout, then reverses direction and the east switch is thrown for the siding.

-- The reefer car and coach are uncoupled from the rear of the train and the loco pulls them thru the east switch, then reverses direction.

-- The reefer is spotted on at the ice house and the coach is spotted in front of the station.

-- The loco runs thru the east switch again, the switch is thrown for the north track, and the crew starts working the stock yard and pulpwood lot. (The crew might also spot a LCL box car at the rear of the station if needed.)

-- After the passengers have disembarked the coach, and the spur track has been worked, it is time to start building the outbound train.

-- The first thing the crew needs to do is to get the coach on the other side of the now "iced" reefer on the mainline so the coach is the last car on the train. That is done but using the coach as a handle (between the loco and reefer) and the reefer is set out temporarily on the north track.

-- The loco and coach run eastward thru the east switch and reverse direction, then the switch is thrown for the mainline. The loco runs forward until the coach clears the switch, and the coach is left on the mainline near the station.

-- The loco grabs the reefer from the north track and after tacking it onto the coach, the two cars are pushed westward pass the west switch.

-- The coach is then left on the mainline close to the TT, and the iced reefer is spotted at the milk loading platform for loading.

-- The loco pulls forward under the water tank, and after topping off the tank the loco is left near the station while the crew takes a break (goes for beans).

-- Once the break is over and any LCL freight is loaded, the crew grabs all outbound cars that were left on the north track.

-- The cars are moved to the mainline, coupled onto the now loaded reefer, then pushed west to couple onto the coach.

-- Once the eastbound train is assembled, the crew moves east until the coach is in front of the station where it stops to load outbound passengers.

-- After the passengers are onboard, the mixed daily heads east (for the staging cassette) on its scheduled departure time.

I have always had an affection for these small simple layouts based on actual prototype locations, and I am working on finding other suitable subjects for future designs. If you have any suggestions and can provide the necessary maps and/or track diagrams, please tcontact me.

TAGS: Design Feature: 3 - Turnout Layout, Design Feature: Based on Actual Location(s), Design Feature: Cassette Staging, Theme: End of Line Station, Layout Size: Mini Layouts, Theme: Narrow Gauge Railway, Theme: Single Station / Town, USA (States): Wisconsin, American Railways: Chicago & North Western RR, Articles: Operating Small Layouts

User Comments:

Posted by Ryan Sabo on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 12:13:43 AM.

Again, just wonderful stuff, Rob! I really admire these small prototype-based designs that are dripping with atmosphere and feel authentic as hell... because they’re based in reality. With a change of industries this could be a lot of places in North America in the first quarter of the 20th century. I look forward to more of the less-is-more designs from you in the future.

Posted by Robert Chant on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 6:39:35 AM.

Thanks Ryan. I put out a request for suitable locations on one of my Facebook groups, and received some great responses. The members of that group offered a variety of track charts and Sanborn maps covering several locations in the United States and Canada. They were all excellent ideas, and I have cataloged them for future designs and will be posting them when completed.

Posted by Ryan Sabo on Monday, February 03, 2020 at 10:15:24 AM.

Ok... I'm going to build it. Or something very much like it. Input from the other Railroad-Line Early Rail fellas was excellent, including the option to eliminate the turntable and having the locomotive 'turned' in the un-modeled, off-layout part of the railroad, so that the power already enters the scene pulling the consist with the smokey end pointing east. Also going to do some mockups to see if the spur can be eliminated. But... I'm thinking your design is still best and this layout will look very much like what you have drawn. Thanks for taking the time, pal. Keep the small, early, simple designs coming!!


Posted by Robert Chant on Tuesday, February 04, 2020 at 2:10:41 PM.

Hi Ryan ... glad to see you're taking the plunge! I am sure that whatever form you decide to build will make a great layout. The photos available of the Werley were excellent and I am sure your new book will inspire as well. I also can't wait to see the final version of Loganton.

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