Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Black Diamonds and Beer

My latest article in the commercial press is a track plan for a modern-era shortline in N scale. The Schuylkill Haven Railroad is a proto-freelanced modern-day anthracite hauler in east-central Pennsylvania.

The model layout is inspired by the real-life regional railroad Reading & Northern (RBMN). Proto-freelancing offered some welcome flexibility in combining attractive elements from the good-sized regional into the available space.

The track plan, photos, and a description of the design are found in the January/February 2010 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist media-zine, always free for download here. View the track plan in my Design Gallery.

The design is based on a hybrid loop-to-oval out-and-back schematic, with key industries (coal tipple and truck dump, a plastics manufacturer, and a large brewery) located on branches from the main continuous running track. The RBMN operates tourist passenger service on some parts of its system, so that's also an option for some variety.

My client was already wisely looking at along-the-wall designs (rather than rectangles) when he contacted me, so the final design makes great use of the layout space. It was a fun project to develop with him and it's great to see it "in print" in MRH.