Granite State Industrial, N Scale Industrial operations in NH.

Jim Wiggin Jun 21, 2021

  1. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    It's been a bit, but the little shadowbox layout is not without updates. I'm putting more planning into this layout to try and lessen pit falls. I had the opportunity this past weekend to have my not-so-local hobby shop dealer take a look of the full-size printed layout. Tom worked for a Texas short line in the late 1990's and learned a lot of industrial switching so he is a valuable resource in planning. After studying my design, he remarked on how it closely matched a stretch he switched back in the 1990's. He did offer one suggestion, however.

    B&M Industrial 2.jpg

    Rather than have the one spur serve two industries and have the drill track beside it, he suggested to shorten the first lead to customer 1 and use the drill track for customer 2. He mentioned that grocery distributors typically would have a single spur so as not to disturb the unloading process trying to get to the other customer. This made sense and so I updated it accordingly. I still have room to "store" cars on the lead of the Grocery distributor spur but now have a dedicated spur per customer. Now it really looks like Manchester.

    There were some comments on the siding previously and he said their base of operations at one time had a similar small siding at one time, although by the time he was working with the road, it was partially gone and no way to perform a run around.

    So, the updated track plan is about complete. I plan to run the main on cork as well as the siding, code 55 track and Micro Engineering turnouts. I will extend the roadbed past and before the siding to replicate track that was pulled up in the early 1960's. The spurs will be Micro Engineering code 40, shimmed with styrene to match the turnouts and a transition built from turnout to the surface. I'm still planning to use the Tam Valley turnout controls and I really want to add the river and hill to the left side of the layout. Having the industrial bits on the right and scenic on the left helps with the eye in my opinion.

    So as soon as I finish up some other projects, I hope to start laying track.
  2. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    I see such spurs here in Neenah. They usually have raised platforms going out to the track.
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  3. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    It's been a while but as I have said numerous times, life comes at you fast. I purchased a late Christmas present for myself from the B&M Historical Society written by Rick Kfoury and entitled, Queen City Rails, Manchester's Railroads 1965 - 1990. This was exactly the time period I was hoping to model, and Manchester was a city I would frequent a lot throughout the 1970's - 1990's. I remember the city back then as a typical old mill town that had track seemingly running everywhere. The book brought back a lot of memories and answered a lot of questions as to who had rail service and what they got and how.

    I have subscribed to a YouTube channel, BoomerDiorama who is a pro at modeling a specific time and place. His 8-foot HO scale shadowbox was the inspiration for what I'm presently working on. He said something in a recent video that struck a chord with me when he said, pick a signature scene and build off from that. For him, it is a brewery, for me, inspiration came in the form of page 95 of my new book. A picture of Central Paper with three spots off the main with a B&M and Detroit & Mackinaw box cars. On a rainy, cold February morning, I grabbed my book, fired up the computer and brought up Google Maps and my AnyRail program, and with a hot cup of Early Grey in hand, I set out to design a new track plan.

    Now that track plan is for a future module-based layout that will model the Brown Ave Industrial track in almost scale, much like I did the Galesburg City Job. But that is a layout for another thread. Flash forward to a few weeks back and I received in the mail a copy of Model Railroaders Model Railroad Planning 2022 edition. As always, there were some beautiful layouts but since I enjoy the smaller shelf style, nothing was of serious interest. Then I came to page 54 and saw a beautiful N scale layout in 8 feet from Brian Rudko. Now I had two inspirations for my shadowbox layout. While drawing from the images of Central Paper and Brian's layout, I came up with a set of standards for the slight re-work of my layout.

    • The layout base is made from two T-Trak 3-foot modules. Track needed to but up against the ends of the two sections. Why not make it one piece? Because the 3-foot module will fit on my 2X4 workbench, and the layout will transport easily in my Jeep Wrangler should I decide to display the layout at a tabletop show.
    • The layout would be set in 1975 - 1983, before Guilford. If I wanted something after 1983, industries would be served by the New England Southern.
    • Current operations are set up as a dead-end industrial track, hence the run around. Staging is off to the south (right).
    • While this is an industrial layout in only 6 feet, customers who are served by rail must be big enough to justify rail service in an area that is seeing a lot of truck traffic.
    • The layout would not unrealistically cram a bunch of tracks in a small setting. A spur that serviced a small industry for one box car a week would likely not be rail served by 1975 as trucks were already using 40- and 45-foot trailers. In this era, we see medium sized industry that have multiple spots for rail cars and loading doors for semis.
    • While my previous track plan looked esthetically pleasing, it did have some pit falls. I'll be using the scale couplers with my equipment on this layout so even broad curves could induce some mechanical issues, and the turnout was in the center of the two modules. I felt I should concentrate on track reliability over esthetics.
    • Finally, after much internal debate, I decided on modeling the "feel" of Manchester NH rather than model what I saw exactly especially since I now had a track plan for the actual Brown Ave. Industrial.
    Brown Ave.jpg
    So now I present you with The Granite State Industrial Spur. As mentioned above, the focal point is Central Paper, a company that is still in business in Manchester although, they no longer use rail. I measured this building on Google Earth and added the overhangs for unloading boxcars based on images. I will scratch build this large and almost entirely to scale building by using Boomerdiorama's method of wood for the internal structure and Evergreen styrene for the outer layer. The dead end is the north side (left) just past the Granite Street overpass. I hope to camouflage the dead end with the overpass and trees. The second large building served is also to scale as far as width but is cut for depth and that is the former Sweetheart Plastics building. There is room for two to three spots here. Last but not least is the team track with loading and unloading platform. There is also two non-rail industries and a Gulf gas station.

    Online Customers:
    • Central Paper. They receive 1 - 3 boxcars of rolled paper of various weights. All shipments are made by truck on the south side of the building. Railroad picks up all empties. Cars in the process of being unloaded will require the crew to replace any of those cars that have to be moved.
    • Sweetheart Plastics. They will receive 1 -3 covered hoppers of plastic pellets or an occasional boxcar for other raw material. All shipments from the plant are outbound by truck on the south side of the building.
    • Team Track. Can receive all manner of freight cars thanks to its loading platform, overhead crane and access to fuel trucks. Can also be used as a storage for freight cars. I love a team track as it can be the wild card of operations and sometimes may create a special movement in operations for large loads that require a buffer car or two.

    Operations: While small and with only a max of three customers, operations can be tricky as the passing siding is not very long and the main surface road cannot be blocked for long amounts of time, sometimes requiring the crew to split up the train.

    Typically, the switcher comes from Manchester yard with a loco, usually an NW-2, GP7 or GP9 and heads north with box cars of rolled paper bound for Central Paper, covered hoppers for Sweetheart Plastics and a flat or gondola or some freight car for the team track. Typically, the B&M will switch out Central Paper first as the head end is pointed the correct direction. It will leave the train and gain access to the Central Paper spur and add any empties to the train and add any loaded cars to the designated spots. Sometimes cars will have to be moved back to their original spot as unloading from the previous day is not finished. With Central Paper finished, the crew locks the gate and the switch and performs a run a round and places the buggy (that's caboose for you non-B&M folks) just under the Granite Street overpass. The loco then adds the empties to the buggy and switches out Sweetheart Plastics, placing empties on the main with the buggy and Central Paper empties. Access to the team track is made through the siding.

    Layout Track and Features:
    • Track will be Micro Engineering Code 55 on the main and sidings. All spurs will be Micro Engineering Code 40.
    • Central Paper and Sweetheart Plastics will be scratch built while the two other buildings will be from Pikestuff and the Gulf Oil will be a City Classics kit.
    • The main road will be centered between the two modules to help hide the seam between the modules.
    • Grade Crossing signals will be NJ International and functional.
    • All turnouts will be servo controlled by Tam Valley products.
    • Scenery will be static grass, foam for mowed office areas and real dirt around the industrial areas. Roads, parking lots and truck loading areas will be styrene, airbrushed and weathered.
    • Control will be DCC with NCE and an Iowa Scaled Products Proto Throttle.
    • Locomotives will be Kato NW-2 custom detailed and painted in the roads only Bicentennial switcher scheme, or an Atlas GP9 #1715, a loco I super detailed and painted way back in 2004. When I run 1980's I will use New England Southern's former Rock Island GP18 that I plan to super detail and paint as it appeared in 1985.
    • Freight cars will be a mix of ECM shops, Athearn, Trainworx and whatever else fits for the time period. All cars and locos will have the Micro Trains scale couplers.
    So, there you have it, I know a long thread but that is what I'm working on and now I plan to print the plans to full size and start the process of laying track.

    More to come.
    Tad, BNSF FAN and Sumner like this.

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