December 18, 2017

Model Railroad Design Death Match 2017

Yes, with the holiday season upon us, and the end of the year looming, it's time for model railroad Design Death Match 2017. In version, we will look at three four possible expansions of the Aquia Line. All of these designs entail dismantling the PoLA layout to provide room for even more Aquia Line layout. PoLA would be sold off or converted to modules.

Version 11
Version 11, the Burnside Wharf Expansion,  you may have seen before, but this has been updated with the as-built configuration of Aquia Landing.  This version requires the least demolition of existing Aquia Line. It essentially replaces the current PoLA with an extension of Burnside Wharf. Currently, operations with limited Burnside Wharf are proving satisfying, so the main reason to do this would be to free up some space to have more ship models. It keeps the current  crew lounge and TV viewing area. It has the drawback of a removable section across the door to the office.  It is possible that in this version, an extra crew could be the Burnside Wharf switcher, running cars from Aquia Landing to Burnside and back.














Version 15
Version 15, the Small Falmouth extension, replaces PoLA with an extension of Falmouth. It would remove the tight curve that exists at Falmouth now. The overall length of run would also be expanded. With more space to model Falmouth, the sidings can be longer allowing for 10 car trains.  This version would keep the current crew lounge in the main layout space.  This version also has a longer run with the track under the stairs compensating for the lost mainline on the current Falmouth.  This would be called Stares Tunnel.
There is a possibility of a connecting track for a continuous run for open house operations.























 
Version 17
Version 17, The Big Falmouth Extension,  is similar to 15 in that Falmouth will be moved, but it includes a big peninsula in the open space.  The peninsula will have a eye level ridge, called Robert's Ridge in honor of my father,  down the spine to block the view. It is the most drastic and biggest  expansion. By adding a large peninsula where the crew lounge is now, I would be able to move Stoneman's Station to that peninsula. I would also relocate Potomac Creek to where Stoneman's Station is now. That is a simple name change. The current Potomac Creek station would become Ward's Siding (named after the first U.S. Navy officer killed in the war at the Battle of Aquia Landing), a simple stub switch siding, or it could be removed. These changes would create a whole new station where 10-car trains could meet, and match the prototype station arrangement too (other than Ward's Siding).

 In Version 17 the crew lounge gets moved to my office space. I am planning on building new book shelves in my office anyway, and I will locate the TV there and build bookshelves to house it. I spend 75 percent of my basement time in my office, and rarely watch TV,  so having the TV and more importantly the stereo, in my office would make it more useful to me.



Version 17 has the longest mainline run. Other than running tracks into the office, it is the maximum run I can fit in the basement.

Version 18
Hold the presses, this just in, Version 18. It has the best of both designs 11 and 15. More mainline than 11 and more ships than 17. Operators at Falmouth and Aquia Landing would be isolated from each other. Could this be the one?


My wife prefers the more open plans, but she is OK with any of these options.  She said, "do what you want, I never go down there anyway."

Now it's time for you to cast your vote or place your bets.

28 comments:

  1. You know which one you want, version 11. The possibility of having more ships to model is too strong, no point fighting it. Take up Limbo dancing.

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    1. The best place for a nice ship model may be the fireplace mantle shelf.

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    2. Mmm lots of comments about version 18, retains Burnside wharf. Give you more running distance if you need it. However all operators now need to limbo dance. That may become a PITA.
      V15 just gives you more running distance. Agreed Creek running always looks good, but again more covered running under the stairs.
      V17 This peninsular might overpower the room, split up the social part of the hobby.

      So as a modeler looking in, further separation of the Wharf areas might increase the visual impact of each, closer together might lessen the impact. V11 looks good.
      Socially, find open space inside the layout is a good thing, I am not sure how ops sessions work for this layout, if you need complete separation of crew rest or not.

      Its your layout, your the one who know the best for you, From my view I reckon V11 is still pretty good, and you have swinging room if you need it.

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  2. For me, it's a tossup between Version 11 (variety in modeling different ship types) [an O Scale Ironclad would be an awesome sight to see] and Version 17 with more railroad to run. Also, a peninsula would be something different from running in an "around the wall" style. Either version offers some variety.

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  3. I like version 17 the best. More operating potential.

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  4. 17 is my 1st choice. 15, my second. No need for more water vessels, as it is a model RAILROAD. My 2 cents.

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    1. The role of the US Army Quartermaster charter fleet is a key part of the Aquia Line story. All supplies to the Army of the Potomac came by ship, barge or car float. The U.S. Navy also stationed two gunboats at Aquia Landing for protection, so they can be included to tell the whole story. Plus, you know I love me some ships.

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  5. If you were to add a pair of sidings that connect between Burnside wharf and Falmouth , using them as sidings during ops and a continuous run during open house would be an added benefit of v18. Gives the added run distance, more wharf area and still preserves the flavor and intent. The ‘connection ‘ between the two through the backdrop could easily be hidden behind a few trees or a partial building.
    Lee Stoermer

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    1. Yes, they is possible. But honestly I don't find a miss a continuous run. When I run trains at home for test and just for fun, I have no problem going back and forth. The mainline is pretty long and it takes a half hour to do an out and back. That's plenty for just solo running for me. Also consider that O scale sized holes in backdrops are difficult to disguise, particularly in winter when the trees are bare.

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  6. I'd go with version 17, Bernie. Continuos running is helpful at times.

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  7. I like version 18. A good long run and a nice amount of room for the ships. The ships really set the scene as they play a major role in the purpose. I also run back and forth in a much smaller area than you and don't see a problem.
    Pete Leach

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  8. I really like 18, feels like a good compromise on the second wharf and the Falmouth extension but my second choice would be 17.

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  9. Bernie, 18 offers separated views....Mark

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  10. Version 15 I think is the best. The option for continuous running, a real openness to the plan, and it flows with the room better.

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  11. Version 18 is the one I like most. Positioning Burnside's Wharf and Falmouth on the same peninsula is a great use of the space. - Eric H.

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  12. 17: I like the layout and additional operating potential of Falmouth and Stoneman's Station along with the convenience of an open house loop. A turnback blob will be a new scenic challenge.

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  13. Version 18 - love the addition of the peninsula, longer mainline under the steps and in front of the dispatchers office. Maximum use of space and more operational aspects.

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  14. Bernie, have you considered a version 19 taking the Burnside Wharf / Falmouth peninsula from version 18 and place it where the blob is in version 17. This give a little longer run to Burnside wharf and to Falmouth

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    1. yes, I did. It is similar to v18, but loses the cool ridge and run alongside the creek on the wall. Another drawback is that it doesn't have the same isolation effect that v18 does.

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  15. Hi Bernie,

    I am sure other versions will follow soon enough -possibly before the end of the week- but since you asked for input from the peanut gallery on the submitted plans…here goes.

    Having spent countless hours in your basement I am torn between Plans 11 and 18. Version 15 seems a bit boring and does not seem to add enough. Version 17 just takes up too much space in your basement, regardless of whether you replicate some form of crew lounge in your office. If you are moving the TV from the current location to your office that is interesting and I suppose allows you to move seating out of that room. That said, the additional peninsula in Version 17 just seems like too much and might make thing a bit tight and claustrophobic

    Which leaves Version 11 and Version 18. I like both and could see you building either and being happy…for the time being. You could start building 11, assuming that you get rid of the HO harbor layout, and while setting things up maybe you could mock up a cardboard or foam version of 18 to see how that would work in the space and whether you like it. I think Version 11 could get you to Version 18 or you might just be happy with 11. There are other spacial and operational considerations to consider and I know you are not a big fan of continuous run. Having run trains for visitors down there on various occasions the absence of a continuous run has not impacted things much to date so far. That said, it would seem a bit silly NOT to build a line through the closet and under the stairs for 18 to allow for continuous running because… why not. That is assuming there is enough space under the stairs for O scale trains to fit.

    The only thing I do not like about 18, and there is a great deal to like about 18, is the absence of a couch or chairs down there outside of your office. There may still be room for them under Falmouth, I can't tell. Right now I would suggest you would go with Version 11 and see if the Siren of Manifest Destiny calls and you feel the need to try version 18. That is why they invented cardboard and foam to test things out.

    Best,

    Gerard

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    1. In V18 there is a line under the stairs to connect Falmouth. The CR track would have to cross the bottom of the shared sky board. I don't like that idea. But as I said elsewhere, a CR is not a priority for me.

      Moving the crew lounge in the office will have to precede the layout construction, as I plan to build all new book shelves in the office, then move in the couch. I currently have 4 stools scattered about the basement and two other chairs for folks to sit in to rest, so the absence of the couch in the main room is not a biggie.

      The skyboard is a key feature of v18 and should be built before hand as it involves mudding the joint. So a staged v11- v18 plan would be problematic.

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  16. Bernie...They all have pro's and con's. Role the dice...You pick- you win.
    They are all good.

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  17. since you've made noise about building either a four-coupled engine (or perhaps that attractive Mason Ten Wheeler) at some point I would avoid Plan #11 as it perpetuates the overly tight curve at Falmouth.
    Any of the others address that issue - so it really comes down to more ships to model or more "open country running."

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  18. Aesthetically speaking i think number 17 is the best with the view block coming form the ridge instead of a background wall. In 18 as soon as you come down the stairs and look left your going to see the very end of that diving wall and its just not going to be pleasing to the eye.
    My ten cents!

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  19. Hi Bernie,

    I favor 18. I like the long run and openness, especially the moving of Falmouth as that opens up a previously crowded area and increases the curve radius. Also, I’m partial to the ships as I have two plank on frame models under construction now...I’m a big fan of Aquila Landing and Burnside’s Wharf. They anchor the purpose of the layout

    Ron

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