moderated Murphy Branch HO trackplan

Jim King

I’m not sure if this is the appropriate group for model-related discussions so I’m giving it a shot until told otherwise.  The reason for my recent inquiries regarding coal and water locations is that I’m trying to refine an HO trackplan that Dan Bourque (Appalachian Modeling web site) designed to fit my 13x13 room.  While compact, it includes several scenes from Bryson to Addie with a return loop on each end and was designed for a circa 1968-72 Southern operation.  Attached is the plan.  Ignore the floor heights … I can guarantee you that the Asheville staging loops will NOT be 77” off the floor!  The plan doesn’t have great resolution and I can’t get better.  I am going to redraw it and can post the revised version when done if there is interest.


Here’s the kicker.  For those of you who have Southern employment or family connections and had to survive the 1982 “N&W takeover”, you might not want to read further!  I really like Dan’s plan.  I’m intimately familiar with all of the scenes he depicts.  But I haven’t modeled the Southern for many years.  What to do?  I’m changing the primary industries from wood/paper related to coal and moving the era to the late 50s N&W.  Operations will be similar to the Southern in the 1948 t/t but with more passenger and off-layout interchange traffic (CRR and L&N coal, ala Norton Branch).  Curve radii will be widened but the overall gist of the scenes will remain.  An additional 16-ft long yard/staging where all tracks funnel to a 130-ft turntable will be added in an adjacent room and connected to the Addie loop.  Being able to change consists without stooping under the layout (Murphy) or standing on a stool to reach Asheville is key.  Only made-up trains will reside in these loops.


While this seems like heresy to purists, my family connection (dating to the 1940s) and personal interest in the N&W is too strong to ignore.  I was modeling N&W diesels in my teen years.  If Southern ran steam as long as the N&W did, I may reconsider.  The amount of good quality HO RTR diesels, steam and cars plus a decent supply of affordable brass steam have made it possible for me to model an N&W-themed layout in a small space.  Sure, big Mallets don’t like tight curves but with some creative planning, larger radii curves and scenery view-blocks to hide extreme boiler overhang is doable in a smaller space.


Now you can throw stones and ban me from the list if you wish (I hope you don’t!).


Jim King


Jim King

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