Layout Design Narrative
By John Armstrong




The following is a nearly verbatim transcript of the tapes John provided with the layout drawings. I hope it will enable the viewer to better appreciate the thought that went into his design.



Index
General Description
Helix
Layout Standards
Shasta Route Tour
Dunsmuir, Lower Yard
Dunsmuir
Small
Cantara Loop
Azalea
Black Butte
Mt. Shasta Town / Mc Cloud River Railroad
Hotlum
Grass Lake
Leaf / Long Bell Lumber Company
Mt. Hebron
Texum
Klamath Falls
Design Features
Construction By Stages
Epilog



Well, here's the Shasta Division.


General Description

In making the various trade-offs that are involved in any track planning operations to fit a finite space, we have used the following priorities. First, representation is of the line of the Southern Pacific from somewhere north of Redding through Dunmuir, Black Butte, Grass Lake to Klamath Falls, with loops at each end to represent the west end, by timetable, that is Redding, Oakland, Roseville and the east end representing traffic to Portland. This is a single track mainline ala the prototype in this case planned to accommodate 25 to 30 car freight trains. A priority has been the facilities, both yard and servicing at Dunsmuir, maximum realism, and representation of the prototype in this area. The creation of a helper grade from there to Black Butte and on to Grass Lake, scenic representation of the Cantara Loop area and the representation of Mt. Shasta on the proper side of the line. The schematic and profile on Sheet 3 show what we have come up with based on these priorities is a loop to loop mainline, with the stations that are represented (of course many are omitted) in the proper order with one glaring exception in that the town of Mt. Shasta is on the east by timetable of Black Butte, instead of between Black Butte and Dunsmuir where it should be. I'll talk about the reasoning for this later on.

As you can see from the elevation profile (Sheet 3) with the relatively long helper grade, one loop ends up a great deal higher than the other. Since it would also be desirable to be able to make a continuous run bringing the train from the high end to the low end and there is not sufficient length to do this from the EB grade, which is, after all, up there by old bridge, we have endeavored to do this with a helix. While most of the trains, particularly the passenger trains, would operate from loop to loop, in alternate directions, there is the heavy traffic in lumber from Oregon, in open flat cars in many cases, so that a WB train travelling south by geography, west by timetable, would typically be loaded and EB trains would have a large proportion of empty flats. Therefore it would be highly desirable to be able to run these trains realistically without having to load and unload them.


Helix

To make the helix pay its way, it is double-tracked, with alternating facing point and trailing point cross-overs. By doing so, four long trains can be staged, leaving a serpentine path for through traffic. Likewise, the end loops are shown with three tracks so that two trains can be staged on each without impeding through traffic. Another line shown is the connection at Black Butte to the Siskiyou line represented in this case by a connection with a "Y" of mainline radius extending into the verboten area over the workbench in. the lounge area with three train length tail tracks. Altogether the staging represented amounts to approx. 412 car length staging capacity figured on 40' cars.


Layout Standards

Physically, the line is designed with 40" minimum radius on the main and most passing tracks with one exception, which will be discussed later, which is 38", if necessary. The EB helper grade is 2.75%; WB the ruling grade, if the train is coming up out of the helix is 1.6%; also a fairly short grade from Mt. Hebron to Grass Lake is 1.6%. The mainline 1 is just short of 300 feet or 5 HO miles, loop to loop. For the dispatcher's interest, there are 5 passing points between the loops of pretty much full train length, with 3 shorter passing tracks suitable for locals, but primarily for run arounds and switching.

As you can see from Figure 1, the basic main level plan, it is a walk around, walk in plan, with 74" clearance between the railroad room and the lounge area with passage way aisles of 30" including a 30" walkway to the adjacent room as dictated by the joists.

Facing the mainline on Sheets 1 and 2, it is possible to follow a train from one loop to the other without ducking or walking below anything lower than 74." Using the Southern Pacific timetable orientation, in which San Francisco is always west, you are consistently looking at the train with west on the left and east on the right, which is normal from the standpoint of map logic. This logic holds true with the exception of one segment of the line. At the town of Mt. Shasta, things have been reversed. As you cross under the line, and you are looking at the trains, you are looking from the west. This is deliberate because Mt. Shasta is to the east of the track. You must have it that way to get the proper impression that you are on the real Shasta Division.

A great place to see Mt Shasta is from Mt. Shasta station. On the other hand, we must look at Dunsmuir from the east because it is up against the mountain all the way along. A transition of aisles must take place between them. This is why we have taken the liberty to of mis-locating Mt. Shasta to the north or east Black Butte.

The basic configuration of the layout is an around the wall circuit connected by a spiral peninsula ending in a "blob." In general, this is the most efficient way to make maximum use of the space. With the aid of the helix, the continuous run connection and both end loops are stacked in the same space. The entire peninsula is double-decked, stacked in a mushroom manner. The two levels are viewed from opposite sides so that at no point are you able to see more than a single level. With some of the aisles elevated between 16" to 20," the viewing height over much of the railroad is close to ideal on both levels. What is ideal, of course, is somewhat subjective and is subject to alteration if the suggested levels here are not exactly what you expect or desire.

Structurally, the general scheme for the double decked layout is shown in cross-sections A-A and B-B on the upper mushroom Sheet Two. One side of the double deck is supported by the lower level backdrop and the other side is supported, in suspension, from overhead by the backdrop for the upper level. With the tensile strength or stiffness of masonite, particularly a curved section of the backdrop, this results is an efficient and strong structure, although planning it does involve significant civil engineering. (NB - In considering engineering alternatives, it has been decided to support the upper level from the ceiling on welded angle iron brackets; masonite will likely be the material of choice for the backdrop, but not to provide support for the benchwork) Since the vertical separation between the two layers is 20" or more, the question of shadowing and limited access of the lower level is essentially done away with. The upper level backdrop skirt can form the valance for the lower level, still leaving abundant clearance to get into the lower level.

Pretty much throughout the railroad, the 24" to 28" arm reach has been observed. This keeps the width of the scenes from the aisles within arm's length for comfort and convenience in working on and maintaining the layout and for effective viewing of the scenes. Where this is not practical, there are, in general, access openings of a minimum size for you to stick up like a gopher, if necessary. At some points, we have actually wasted space by moving the backdrop away from the walls, leaving a void, because filling this in just adds scenery expense and problems without improving the scenes. Overall, and not allowing for the space lost by the stairway, the area occupied by the railway, including the double deck, amounts to around 79% of the gross area of the room which, with 30" aisles, is about the best we can expect.


Shasta Route Tour

Now, perhaps is the appropriate time to go away from generalities and discuss the rationale behind the location of the tracks, point by point, on a hypothetical trip around the railroad.

Starting from the west, or low end, we use primarily the contoured copy of the layout which has been put together in paper doll fashion, with foldovers for the upper level. As can be seen, with some difficulty on the main level Sheet One, in the Redding loop area, the lower level loop is connected with the main line by a switch which is out of sight in a tunnel. If you go around the loop in a counter clockwise direction you come out into the open on a point we have just labeled McColl. There is nothing there. We go through Tunnels One and Two. This sort of represents the re-located line north of Redding where it is away from the river and some of the tunnels must get through some ridges. By having this part of the loop in the visual, scenicked part, we gain a little bit of length from the main line if the train is going around counter clockwise. Conversely, if a train is coming west wants to be seen for as long as possible, it will go around in the opposite direction. The layover tracks in the loop are shown on 3" track centers; the outer loop is 40" radius. If there is any equipment that is skittish on anything less, it can be preferentially routed to that track. The inner loop is still about 34" radius, or pretty close to super broad standard. (NB - Not shown on the displayed plans, is additional staging track to be located beneath the area between Redding and Lower Dunsmuir Yard which will be accessible from the lower level of the helix.)

Cross section C-C on the upper mushroom Sheet Two, and also on the contoured copy folddown, shows how this loop is underneath the helix. The structure of the helix involves a curved, masonite outside covering over the loop, perforated at various points in the interest of visibility of trains in the helix. This also results in enclosing the lower level loops. The tracks are accessible from the inside by ducking under the helix.

At Pitt Bridge, I have suggested a very much compressed version of the bridge spanning the top end of Shasta Lake. At this bridge, the highway goes over the upper deck, on which the railroad travels, coming across the bridge and turning in the opposite direction. This is, of course, compressed both horizontally and vertically, because the track is actually double at this point. In the interest of maintaining the general character of a single track railroad, we have compressed this to a single track bridge.

Since we have about 100' of track following the Sacramento or Pitt River, we need to do things to keep it interesting. At Sims, for example, I have suggested a tunnel with a quarry to give a little scenic and operational interest, even though it is not necessarily prototypical.

We continue on to Castella. With respect to the contoured copy, the contours are not to be interpreted precisely as in the case of the track itself. They are intended to give the general character of the terrain which is governed by such things as control of the viewing angles. Likewise, this is the basis of the terrain, itself, and should be used for such things as bringing the skyline up to eye level and hiding things that we need to here and there. In practice, of course, as you are actually developing the scenes in appropriate locations, foliage and trees can be used to augment and supplement the terrain to achieve the maximum realism. An interesting thing about this layout is that the country represented goes from essentially desert to dense forest so there is an ample opportunity to demonstrate and illustrate the different areas trains pass through with radical differences in the character of the scenes, particularly with respect to the trees.

As you may notice, there are little milestones with pointy tops along the track on Sheets One and Two. These correspond to distances on the diagram on the elevation profile Sheet Three. If you get hopelessly lost, there is this cross-reference to find out just where you are. These are at 10' intervals and numbered from west to east. In the interest of eliminating a certain amount of clutter, many of these have been blanked out on the contoured copy. The contours, themselves, are set at 10" intervals or elevation numbers. These read from the bottom of the slope so that, in general, you can tell whether the slope is above or below the track height.


Dunsmuir, Lower Yard

At about MP 40, we have entered the south end of Dunsmuir which, in accordance with the prototype, is the main freight yard at this Division point. At this point in history, there were no diesel facilities in the lower yard. We have shown a caboose track, a utility runaround and spur. Basically, this is modeled as a 4 track yard which, of course, is quite a condensation of the 17 tracks on the real one. However, we have fairly long, double-ended tracks in this yard. They are laid out on a 1% grade which is, fortunately, relatively rare for a flat classification yard. It is, however, prototypical, and was a real pain for Southern Pacific crews who had to eternally be careful to tie down and brake cars to keep them from running out of the yard. Nowadays, free-rolling HO trucks will impose similar problems operationally and will require some movable stop pins to control things. If you believe that this is too much of a problem, it is certainly possible to rearrange the grades to flatten the yard. Considering the effect of curves on friction, it might be something that can be worked out by experiment.

As we proceed, there are two main tracks on the left as you are going east bound. These are shown on the profile and on the figures of the elevations to have a different grade starting out with a somewhat steeper grade and then flattening out. At the north end of the yard everything is again together. Over some of the distance there is a grade separation as well as a somewhat wider spatial distribution between the main line and the yard tracks to capture the effect of the separation of the yard tracks and the main tracks.

At this point, we have picked up the Sacramento River and continue to follow it. At about MP 45, you notice that the river thins away. As is shown on the contour, at this point there is a slight "hillock" between the yard and the hypothetical river. The purpose of this is to minimize the duckunder in coming through the stepsaver shown at this point. By not having the river at this point, we can gain, maybe, a couple of inches. Over the lifetime of the railroad, this can represent a significant amount of agony. On a big spiral peninsula, on a layout of this type, the walking distances to get from one place to another, when you are not following a train, can be quite a nuisance. This is particularly true, for example, where you are going back and forth to the shop area and working on the railroad. (NB - This is the only "duckunder" lower than 74" on the layout and need not be used during planned operating sessions).

Gaining 4" or 5" in clearance at this point, by not having L girders, and just having minimum thickness plywood for a couple of feet saves an awful lot of agony over a period of years. That's why we have suggested gaining some space here by temporarily interrupting the river. Some study of Figures One and Two in this area will show that this duckunder, step-saver comes off of a subterranean passage connecting the various segments of the line along that wall, which is a stand up, walk-through. Approximately 24" should be allowed for the step-saver. This is narrower than our 30" standard aisle, but this is not an area where people are going to try to pass each other.

Returning to a discussion of the lower yard at Dunsmuir, the outer-most track of the four track yard is 40" radius so that any equipment can run through the yard; the inner-most track is still a quite respectable radius. The main effect of this is that we have a very wide spot in the aisle here which is, hopefully, a place where people can congregate and "shoot the bull."


Dunsmuir

Now we come to the north yard station, roundhouse area at Dunsmuir, which is really the heart of our railroad. The engine terminal and station area here is very prototypical.(NB - Thanks, in large part to John Barclay).


For example, there are just three tracks between the turntable and the station. And, there is a pedestrian overpass which is, apparently, a rather massive structure from the one picture of it I have seen. Exactly how you get up and down to it, I don't know. The problem here, of course, is that you have a space about 6' wide which would normally be accessible from only one side, behind the roundhouse. Of course, the backside of the roundhouse is not the most interesting viewpoint. So, a major feature of the railroad is that, through large openings in the backdrop, Dunsmuir can be seen from the other side. If we have low buildings, typical of what might be seen along Sacramento Street, and the backdrop is no higher than those buildings, you can gain a relatively good view of the other side of Dunsmuir and reasonable access through the openings in the backdrop. These openings, shown in cross-section A-A, can be at least one foot high.


As desired, the major buildings in this area are full scale. I have shown the passenger station, with the cinder block addendum for the CTC machine which was there during the era being modeled. As we discussed before, I was only able to get the two segments of the roundhouse in without utterly compromising the rest of the layout. (NB - With two segments we will "only" be able to model 19 of the 26 stalls of this structure.) The arrangement of tracks in the area is somewhat condensed but relatively prototypical in the location of the two track Mallet House going through the turntable, a _____track between the roundhouse and the track coming in from the north to the turntable and the general arrangement with respect to the machine shop and the location of the sand facility. At the north end of the upper yard is a caboose track. Apart from the two Southern Pacific cottages to the right of the station as you look at it from the turntable area, the other building flats along the street, are something you can work up to whatever degree of reality is possible from information that may be available provided they are not too tall and of course there should be some indication of the start of the rising terrain going up from the gorge in which Dunsmuir is located.

Continuing on past the oil tank, the yard, of course, has a throat coming to the main track. We had to curve this more than in the prototype. The suggested intersecting streets are not supposed to be prototypical. An arrangement may be worked out that is better.

As shown in Section B-B, which cuts through the Dunsmuir freight house, its service track and platform, at this point we have a somewhat narrowed space in order to provide a situation on the upper deck, namely the Hotlum trestle which we will encounter later. There has been some shifting lengthwise of the turntable, station, the little park with the "Best Water in the World" sign, in order to get these things in. We have done so keeping in mind the best practical viewpoint from both sides of Dunsmuir. I hope this has not departed too much from reality.

The north yard at Dunsmuir is on a level which seems to be prototypical and is best from the viewpoint of appearance. From here, we start almost immediately up the 2.75% ruling grade as we pick up again the Sacramento River and head out up towards the summit.

To digress a moment, the symbols and standards for the plans are given on Sheet Two. You will notice that unless otherwise specified the curves on the mainline and principal other tracks are 40" radius, with sharper curves only on industry tracks and branches, with a typical minimum of 20." Since so much HO equipment is made to go around 18," this gives us a little margin for which we have ample room. Other radii can be derived from the 40" curves. Unmarked turnouts are number 6 which is the most common one here and which we have used in the yard situations. I have used number 8s only where they can fit in without seriously compromising the space requirements, mostly in the case of cross-overs where the number 8 makes a smoother appearance. Since the number 6 sharpest curvature is 43," this is not restriction on the mainline and its equivalent radius is 56" which, of course is quite a bit bigger than our largest curves.

Since in most cases we are working in relatively spacious basis, I have not called for curved turnouts. In any case, here, which is fairly unusual, they do save considerable space and sometimes make for better looking trackage if you have a curvature situation in the vicinity they could make a sweeping and attractive situation. However, since the largest commonly available curved turnout is 32"/36" radii with a number 8 frog, the sharp side of this is a little incompatible with our 40" minimum curves. If you were hand-laying them, of course, they can be fitted in at various places where they would make things look neater. However, in the interest of being able to retain the choice of how you do it, we have only straight frog turnouts throughout the plans. There are various places where we have number 3 Y turnouts, which of course have the same curvature as number 6s and frequently made for a better alignment.

In some spaces, such as the caboose tracks leaving Dunsmuir, where we are really somewhat cramped for space, I have used number 5s on the assumption you are not going to use a 4-10-2 to reach in and pick up a caboose.

Leaving Dunsmuir we have a couple of crossings of the Sacramento River. Since there are 15 to go in the prototype, we need to put them in wherever we have the space. Otherwise, things would tend to get rather dull. I have not attempted to indicate specifically what type of bridges would be used here because I do not have any good information. As I recall most of them would be deck girder bridges, rather than through trusses or through girders. Presumably, they are high enough above the water. However, if you find more specific information there is plenty of room to put them in.


Small

Small is an optional passing track long enough for a local or a "saw by" of a moderate length passenger train. I have shown a spur of some sort and maybe another quarry. From the book, it appears that Small was probably a town that rated a station.


In any case, we at this point, are away from the river which is out in the aisle, then it rejoins. I actually had it regress a couple of inches from the previous elevation where we were keeping it rather level as the railroad rises above it as the gorge gets steeper.


Cantara Loop

Next we come to one of the highest priority items on the railroad, the Cantara Loop. This has several problems. It's a real horseshoe and any horseshoe bend takes up a blob of space. Worse than that, in order to get back to our around the wall trajectory, it takes another reverse bend. So, it pretty well occupies two blobs of space. If you want the two ends of the horseshoe to be close together, as they are in the case of Cantara, it then becomes not only wide, but long. So what we have to try to do is convey the horseshoe effect as you watch the train working its way around it, but still getting it within the space. So I have shown it in the plan here as 38" radius. If it is drawn with a 40" radius maintaining the 30" aisle width, which has to be maintained by keeping the helix across from it, we end up with less than 180 degrees of curvature losing a good deal of the effect of the horseshoe. Of course this also means keeping the "5" curve effect away by not cheating on the straight section as you come into the reverse curve. So, I hope you find you can live with the 38" radius in the alignment here. Actually if we could go to 36" we could get much more of a horseshoe but I certainly think you would not want to go that far.

Another problem is the matter of access. I think that to get the full effect of the curve you should look in at it from a distance rather than have a stub aisle run up into the interior. That would take care of the access problem but would seriously compromise the visual effect of the loop. I have suggested on the contoured copy an arrangement with a large hole be reached by a duck under which takes care of, not only access problems on the curve, but also on the generic logging branch to be discussed later. The terrain is indicated such that you cannot see the hole from a vantage point out in the aisle. At this point we are still on the floor level and the track has risen high enough to be at close to eye level. If the contours are modeled as shown on the contour map, anybody less than 6' 6" may not be aware that there is a hole. Some trees here and there may further help. What would be nice, of course, would be that the Cantara Loop was similar to the Pennsy's Horseshoe Curve where the City of Altoona provided reservoirs which can be used as prototypes for drop down lakes which provide both access and foliage sincerely patterned after the prototype terrain.


Azalea

Leaving Cantara we enter a full length passing track which would accommodate a 30-35 car train. Keeping the station sequence, we call this Azalea although I don't believe it bears a true resemblance to the real Azalea station. At this point we introduce a flat spot to facilitate the switching going on here. This also helps us come out at the right elevation at the summit while maintaining the 2.75% ruling grade.

Since one of the objectives was to make good use of your existing 5' trestle we have here created her a non-prototypical logging type branch connecting with the SP here with an additional track double-ended for interchanging logs coming off of this line carrying them on to one of the mills somewhere else on the railroad. This is the most spacious, underutilized area on the whole layout so this is where that dandy (but huge) bridge can be fitted in. Since it is about 80 scale feet high and most of its length is full height, it takes a broad valley for it to go across. Consequently, the terrain here is somewhat hokey but I think it can be made to look pretty plausible. It does mean that we need a gorge coming out underneath the main line if we want to have the drainage coming out in a logical direction. Otherwise we could have it flowing away from us but that introduces other problems. Having another bridge on the main line should not be undesirable except that this happens to be the only bridge on the line that is double tracked. And, naturally most railroad engineers avoid having passing track cross where there are bridges. I have suggested here a couple of pairs of skewed deck trusses of standard Southern Pacific practice whatever that is. (NB - Since this plan was designed, the Editor concurs with John's assessment that working this large bridge in would, indeed, be "hokey;" consequently, this idea has been scrapped in favor of a much smaller, more prototypical trestle. The original, scratch built "big bridge" is being put to good use on Philip Smith's Pacific Northwestern RR)

This should be a rather generic timber company's line and rises rather steeply as it leaves in order to get to the big bridge somewhat above the line in the foreground so that you can get a good look at it. The bridge itself is shown on a flat spot because I believe it is probably incompatible appearance wise with being on a grade. Then the line resumes upgrade and ends up in the woods at a truck re-load. I have further assumed that the timber company pushes the empties up the hill and pulls them back so we don't need a run-around up at the re-load space. They probably keep a Shay in a little engine house down near Azalea. This is not an "empties in, loads out" arrangement. Having realistic operations will mean fiddling the logs onto and off of the flat cars.

Coming up hill after the first switch on the Azalea passing track we are just about at eye level and still climbing. We therefore have to consider the matter of the floor level. I have shown here, for reasons which are more important across the way at Klamath Falls, rising here 16" in two 8" steps. These are standard house steps, 8" riser, 9" tread. We continue at this level the rest of the way to Black Butte. This will bring you well above the track level and provides a "look see" into the canyon near the big bridge. In achieving the various floor levels which are essential to viewing and operating the railroad, there is a choice between steps and ramps. There is something to be said in favor of both approaches. You may want to experiment to find out which you prefer. I have indicated steps here and elsewhere on the basis that it takes a while to get used to things like this so that you negotiate them reliably. Mixing the steps and ramps is not as good a procedure. (NB - The thought of ramps is well taken. If an operator or someone railfanning becomes engrossed in a particular scene or operation, missing one's step, actually two steps, could ruin an otherwise fine day. However, incorporating ramps will call for much more use of floor space to gradually rise a total of 16"-20." It is contemplated that a compromise will be reached by using steps but having the lower one with a tread much greater than 9".)


Black Butte

From Azalea on up to Black Butte is pretty much straight sailing along a fairly narrow part of the layout. In a situation like this the scenic effectiveness with a one foot shelf is as good as you get with a wider shelf. Having more square feet of scenery to fill is a mixed blessing.

At Black Butte, which is the summit of the steep part of the grade, we have risen 24" from Dunsmuir but the floor has only gone up 16" so the track is 8" closer to eye level. I think this discrepancy is actually desirable because on a mountain railroad you want to get the feeling you have actually risen as you get to the top of the mountain. It also makes it possible to have little mini-scenes which are only effective when you are close to eye level such as the little stream and culvert approaching Black Butte.


At Black Butte we have the connection to the Siskiyou Line, which I have represented here by a "Y." The curved leg is 36" radius which should be sufficient to turn cab-forwards. This represents traffic coming from the Siskiyou and heading East to Klamath Falls which was the case with an awful lot of traffic coming off of the Siskiyou during the era being modeled. This "Y" leads into the room next door, namely the shop and lounge. The line comes into the room above head level so it does not impede anything in that room. Operationally, this can serve as an important staging area. The amount of trackage you can put in there is practically unlimited. I have just shown 3 tracks of standard train length. Using it for staging, of course, means you have to turn the trains around somehow, presumably when no one is looking, such as between operating sessions. The arrangement here is that you back off of the level tail track downhill, come up the slope going East from Black Butte back down into the tail tracks. That way, all backing is done down hill or on the level. This assures somewhat greater reliability that if the backing moves are uphill. Of course if you are really ambitious, there is no reason why you could not have a loop in the workroom/lounge to turn trains around since everything would be overhead in that room. This is what we call a rappet loop, since Ed Rappet has an overhead loop at the termination of his Pennsy railroad. It works very well. We have named the "Y" tail "Weed" which is the first station on the Siskiyou line. (NB - It is now contemplated that the Weed staging tracks will now extend the entire length of the crew lounge/workroom. This will provide over twenty feet of staging of each of 4, instead of 4 tracks. An additional runaround track will provide for cutting off head end power during operating sessions.)

Scenery-wise, I have made a rather radical suggestion to move Black Butte from the other side of the railroad to the West which is, of course, quite a shift. However, Black Butte, for which the town is named, is not nearly as well known as Mt. Shasta. Having Black Butte misplaced may not be too bothersome. What I have suggested is that, instead of having Mt. Shasta merely painted on the backdrop, this be a full 3-D partial cinder cone extending all the way to the ceiling. If you run a piece of 3-D scenery smack into the backdrop, and you look at it at an angle, it is extremely unrealistic because you can see that it runs into the backdrop. However, in this situation I think you can get away with it because the arrangement of the aisles here is such that there is not any way you can see it from the sides. You will only see it from straight ahead. It is, therefore, quite possible you can get away with it. In any case it is something on which you will want to try a mockup. As is the usual in such situations, we show a little "hillock" in between the two legs of the "Y" to disguise the fact that they have to go through a wall


Mt. Shasta Town / Mc Cloud River Railroad

Now comes one of the crucial parts of the layout. We descend to floor level and enter essentially a tunnel under the railroad for the purpose of switching viewing sides as we follow the train Eastward. I have shown about a three foot distance from the bottom riser of the steps until we enter the tunnel to get your head down after descending the steps. This is probably more than necessary and it is desirable to have the high level continue as far as it can from the standpoint of viewing the scenery above. So, this is perhaps an area for experimentation to see what works well.

Leaving Black Butte the train rattles across the only crossing on the entire railroad which is, of course, a non-prototypical thing caused by our desire to be on the right side of the track at all points. Not shown is the construction in this area as far as the width of the track boards is concerned. You certainly would leave space so that you can get at the crossing from below.



Now we enter into our misplaced Mt. Shasta town. This area we have to be at basic floor level for proper entry into the other room. So, Mt. Shasta, which is at 75" elevation has to be viewed from a raised shelf-like area. I have shown this as 16" wide. Again, some experimentation should be done to see if that can be reduced. An option is also shown to have a section to the left of Mt. Shasta to have a raised platform which can fold up to get out of the way when not in use. One of my criteria in this area was that it should be possible to wrestle a 4'X8" sheet of plywood, or whatever, up the stairs and into the shop area without colliding with the railroad.

Mt. Shasta is the junction with the Mc Cloud River Railroad. We have shown, in addition to a short passing track on the Southern Pacific, a third interchange track. Then the McCloud River has a passing track, which is essentially a small yard at the opposite (10) side of the station from the Southern Pacific. Coming back from that track a couple of tracks into it is a freight station and service area to give a feel for operation of this short line railroad. The ostensible main line of the McCloud River disappears behind a hill and goes into a three track "empties in, loads out" arrangement well above the floor level aisle, extending over to a mill near Klamath Falls. Unlike typical "loads in, empties out" arrangements, we have three tracks her so you can have a train of loads, a train of empties, and still have a run around track. This will enable the McCloud River to put the caboose on the correct end of the consist in both directions. This will help create the impression that this is a connection with a true short line railroad and not just a spur going into an industry.

Generally, on the plans we have not shown civilian type structures, houses and so on, not directly related to the railroad. We also have not shown, in many cases, roadways necessary to get to the buildings that we have here at Mt. Shasta. We do have a suggestion of a road running along, up and down along the track to give access to the freight house, station and so on. The alignment of this is completely flexible. Go with whatever looks right and is plausible.


Hotlum

Going through a shallow cut the mainline continues to reach the big bridge at Hotlum. This is a very high priority item for the railroad which is shown in cross-section B-B. This has been fitted in without impeding the scene on the other side at Dunsmuir but providing the relatively flat surface across which the high trestle extends. In this case we are looking up at it since we are at the basic floor level and the trestle is up at approximately 75" elevation. This should be an interesting and impressive scene.


Grass Lake

The track then goes through another shallow cut to convey the impression that we are in a different scene. We then come to the highest elevation at Grass Lake having risen 1% or less from Black Butte. In some cases a pusher continued from Black Butte on to the summit at Grass Lake. So, Grass Lake has a full 36" radius "Y" with a tail track which can be longer than just one locomotive in case you want to turn a locomotive with its caboose.


This is the highest point on the railroad. We have suggested that here we go up to 10" steps to get a little more perspective on the Grass Lake scene. In case there really is a grass lake, which I suppose is a flat depressed area with grass instead of sand or water, we have shown an area where you might model a real grass lake. But basically what happens here is that the line disappears and goes across an area above the stairwell which is so far up above it that it would probably go un-scenicked. Since we are somewhat constrained by the baluster from the stairwell, the third switch of the "Y" leaving Grass Lake is just barely reachable from the raised platform. It should be reasonably practical, however.


Leaf / Long Bell Lumber Company

The line continues on to another station with a short passing run around, namely Leaf. This is the place where the Long Bell Lumber Company operation connected with the Southern Pacific and went on to the East or Southeast into the woods for quite some distance. We have shown a line intruding again, at head height or above, into the workroom to come around on a 20" radius and head downhill at 4% towards the woods.

This should make a fairly accurate little place here, perhaps with a spur and an engine house for the Company. This fairly long branch goes down parallel, and lower, than the main line through an unscenicked area. It then comes out into view from the basic floor level in an area over the deep part of the stairwell. This line winds its way down along side a gorge across a fairly impressive wooden trestle and into a Long Bell working area which we call Camp One. The line continues on to several communities. I have assumed that this was one of the log re-loads which will serve as a terminus for us. Presumably, they would always want to keep their Shay on the bottom end of the consist in both directions. So, to be able to exchange the loads and empties, in this case, you need a run around. We have a short one there.


From Leaf the mainline continues across the lounge/workshop area at above head height for most people. Perhaps minimal scenery is appropriate at this area. The line then crosses the 90 degree crossing which is the way it has to be since the grades bring them to very nearly the same level. At this point it is not possible to have one track go above or below the other without strains in the grades.


Mt. Hebron

Walking through the tunnel puts us onto the other side of the line again so we are now looking at the tracks from the East. Continuing down at a 1.6% grade, which is the ruling grade Westbound, we come into Mt. Hebron. In the steam days, Mt. Hebron was a minor helper station with 2-8-0's being used to boost the trains up to Grass Lake, if necessary.


Since this was the loaded direction for most of the trains carrying forest products out of Oregon this was a fairly active helper station. We have shown here a "Y" sufficient to turn small engines. This really is a rather optional feature but it adds another class of operations to the possibilities. (NB - Thought is being given to follow the suggestion of Morgan Trotter, another member of the No Name Railroad Society, to eliminate Mt. Hebron. Doing so will provide for a much longer mainline run from Grass Lake and Leaf and avoid having the caboose of a long train in Mt. Hebron with its head end in Texum!)


Texum

We are again on the raised floor and continue on to a place that I have labeled Texum. I do not believe there were any mills at Texum but it was the first place West of Klamath Falls so it fits into the sequence of stations here. At this point we have another passing track. Since we are so close to Mt. Hebron, these have been lapped. You then have, if necessary, one full length passing siding which can handle maximum length trains. Appearance wise, it still looks like two sidings on a single track main.

At Texum, there is room for a major lumber mill with all of the trimmings, including a flash burner, a mill pond, stacks of drying wood, and so on. We use this to hide the fact that we do not drop logs into the mill pond. We can still sort of show a mill pond scene between the buildings. But you can have some loads from one of the connections there, such as the McCloud River, being brought around to Texum on the main line. With the raised floor, the tracks are only 5" or so below eye level which makes it possible with reasonable scale lumber mill buildings to hide this action. We can, consequently, generate quite a bit of traffic here.

We have shown the mill with a lot of buildings and a spur of its own, including a power plant. Of course the actual, specific design of the mill is dependent a lot on the buildings and information that is available. But, this one should be a biggee!. A large part of its output is finished lumber in boxcars which do not have the "empties in, loads out" problem.


Klamath Falls

Next we come to the end of the visible line at Klamath Falls. We have a similar situation here that we had down at the loop at the other end of the line of having to have a disguised connection to the continuous run connection of the helix. We again have to cheat a little by leaving exposed part of the track after we have entered the loop thus extending the visible part of the main line. This is again at the expense that if a train goes around counter-clockwise, it will have to come out missing some of the visible main line, and vice-versa. We are only suggesting here that we show the outskirts of Klamath Falls. There is space here to show some kind of industries, perhaps different than the others shown which are principally lumber related. But this is prime space at an attractive viewing level (NB - Among the industries being contemplated for this location is a stock yard and PFE icing facilities, both as per the prototype.).

I have shown a body of water here. I am uncertain what it is but there is a lot of water around Klamath Falls so this should give a spirit of the area with some plants or something on the background across the lake. We should also use the common trick of having the tracks entering the helix disappear behind an overpass or other structure or scenic detail. We have labeled this Natron Loop after the Natron Cutoff which completed the Shasta Route. This then represents the route going through to Portland by way of Chemult.


Design Features

As in the case down below, we have approximately 6" of clearance vertically between the loop at the first point at which it has to run directly over the trackage in the helix. The arrangement of the helix is shown by little diagrams on Sheet Two. The helix is at a uniform grade of 1.6% which results in 5" of separation between each of the levels. With minimum thickness trackboard this is quite acceptable because it does provide minimum hand room between layers for whatever may be necessary. The main structural element supporting all of these turns is a masonite shell surrounding them. This would have openings at various points so that you can see what is going on in there. As has been noted in discussions on helixes, a big problem is lack of faith as to whether the train is actually moving or not leading to running the throttle up to point that the things come out like a rocket! Since it is basically staging track, we want it mostly secluded from view. The inside of the helix layers have occasional supports as needed. But basically the track inside is accessible from the inside.

The helix has been laid out on the basis of using straight frog, standard, No. 6 turnouts for the crossover. It would be possible, to save a little space, by using curved turnouts for the crossovers. However, since the commercial ones available have 32" radius, which would be somewhat more restrictive than the radius of 36-37" on the inner track, I have stayed with the number 6's. Since this is staging trackage, it shows the wider, 3" spacing between tracks to provide better finger room if necessary.

For dispatching purposes, we have to have designations for these four parking points. On the schematic, we have labeled them unimaginatively, Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 and Stage 4. Each one is about 36 car lengths long so, with DCC, on occasion you can park more than one short train in a siding. Altogether, they can stash about 136 car lengths of trains while still leaving a clear path in both directions. So, this is a significant part of our staging capacity.

Well, that brings us to the end of the hypothetical trip across the main line. Some points along the way that I have overlooked include the manner of having more than one Mt. Shasta on the backdrop. One of the striking features you encounter on a trip over the Shasta Line that for a long period of time and distance the mountain is visible. You see it and then go into tunnels or make a turn, it disappears then, many miles later, when you think it is long gone, you come around a curve and there it is again. So, it seems appropriate here to have the two scenes, which are separated, so you are not aware of there being more than one, at any point. I think this is something you can get away with.

I hope this windy explanation will not only show you why the things are the way they are, but also will indicate the options you have in getting the thing exactly the way you want it.


Construction By Stages

Construction by stages is certainly highly important for a work of this magnitude and has been under consideration throughout the course of development. Enclosed is a Sheet Three schematic marked up in colors to show the stages of construction. The individual stages are the minimum amount of track for the operation provided. In each case, the subsidiary trackage, sidings and so on, can be deferred in the interest of moving ahead or, more likely, included in the project at that point. It has been possible to make five stages of construction without requiring at any point that a temporary connection or re-pitching of the grade is necessary.

Stage One includes enough facilities at Dunsmuir for a run around and putting trains together. With so many of the structures already in hand, this part of the project should go fairly quickly. Then the main line, all at low level, extending past Dunsmuir's South Yard, which can be made or deferred at this point, on to the lower level loop, providing out and back operation over a fairly significant piece of the line.

Stage Two starts construction of the main line in the other direction up past Cantara and Azalea to Black Butte where there is a "Y" and the quick construction of tracks sticking out into the other room. This enables the operation of trains on a back and forth basis through Dunsmuir all the way to the Redding Loop and, in the opposite direction, to Black Butte. With the passing track at Black Butte it is possible to turn the trains by run around without having to extend the main line far enough to turn the whole train in one piece on the "Y." The generic timber branch can be added at this time or deferred.

Stage Three extends the main line on the upper deck for the first time, to Grass Lake where, with the aid of the full size "Y" and passing track again it is possible to turn trains without having to extend the main line further on.

Stage Four extends the main line and, in this particular case, we do not have the option of further deferring the helix construction because that has to be done prior to building the top loop. But, this means that we now have a continuous run possibility over the entire line. That is a distance of about 7.3 scale miles. At this point it is also possible to install the "loads in, empties out" arrangement between Texum and Mt. Shasta.

Stage Five wraps it up with the upper level Natron Loop atop the helix.

Of course, although the first two stages do not involve any construction on the upper level, they do require that these be engineered to the extent the provisions of the lower level which are going to ultimately support the upper level be designed and put in place.

I have included in the package the book and other research materials which you furnished. Also enclosed is a contour map of the California area being modeled which I ran across. It is perhaps of some interest although for some reason it does not show the Cantara Loop. So, it is not completely reliable.


Epilog

Well, that concludes the comments at this point. If you have any questions, you know where I am located. It has been a very interesting project resulting in a great deal more reference back to the books and whatever than I had ever thought of. I can hardly wait for you to build it