Anthracite Creek Layout Plan

Posted on November 10th, 2011, by Mike

As another exercise of helping someone on a forum to visualize some of my suggestions for a layout plan, I created this sketch. The forum poster wanted to represent two mainlines, the RDG and PRR, as they snaked through the same coal-digging region. My suggestion was that, rather than try to cram essentially two independent layouts into one space, one could actually dress up the two halves of a continuous-run loop to look as if they were separate lines. Subtle changes, such as ballast color or signal styles, could reinforce this illusion.

Anthracite Creek layout plan

The Pennsy gets all the coal action, as the two mines come off the upper line. Originally, the poster only had about three and a half feet that could be dedicated to the layout depth, so the high line just looped back at the right end. But I sketched in what could be done instead, if an additional 6 feet of wall space along the right edge could be gained. In lieu of a tunnel portal (where the word “HIGH” is) the high line could continue straight into a small yard and town. The loop back would then happen where the turnpike is drawn in; the overpass of this road becomes the replacement tunnel portal, hiding the track is it plunges to run under the yard and tie back in with the Reading low line.

A single staging track is built in, for either the smaller or larger versions, which serves also as a return loop. The crossover at the back, where this loop rejoins the RDG main, could easily be formed of regular straight switches, with the return loop passing through the diverging route. Alternately, both Peco and Atlas make decent curved turnouts which would work well here. Without the 6-ft. yard leg, primary operation of the layout would be to pull a mine turn out from the hidden staging track, proceed on up to the high line and switch one or both of the mines, then return back to staging dragging loaded hoppers. With the yard, though, such a turn should operate out of the yard, and instead the staging track can be reserved for a RDG mixed freight which maybe runs to the yard, trades out some interchange cars, then goes back into hiding.

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  1. PS Says:

    I’m taken with this layout and possible conversion to an independent mining and lumber company operation with a lumber mill (where you’ve the engine house) and lakefront transfer dock and small yard in your extension. It would require a additional hidden track level in the lower left corner (under the lake and shore), but I could eliminate the parallel Reading segment, along the stream, and the passing track, due to the small scale operations. I’m also considering connecting the outer spur past Mine Town to the hidden track via a tunnel, but unsure of flow advantage. Challenge is configuring the rail yard and dock, along with some engine servicing (perhaps a small turntable and engine house). Consists of tiny Climax engines and 21′-30′ rolling stock, so tighter radiuses possible. Fantastic design for the space!

  2. Cameron Says:

    Was this layout ever constructed? If so are there pictures?

  3. Michael Rountree Says:

    Cameron: Sorry for not getting back to you sooner; I’ve been struggling against comment spam and only recently got things back under control, so that I could see your question.

    To my knowledge this hasn’t been built yet by anyone, but I’ve shared it on Nscale.net and I’d love to see someone give it a shot.

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