MODEL RAILROADING HOME

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" 'Three step' is how to retrieve something from the fridge, and nothing else. Conspicuity stripes belong only on guardrails. Graffiti goes on brick walls in the ghetto. Horns should have valves you can modulate. Pull it to Eight and leave it there. Chessie should sleep peacefully on all short hoods, even at 1100 amps. Radiator fans should always be twaddling at different speeds while your boot's on the cab heater. A desktop is a type of computer. And if it wasn't made in La Grange on the Eighth Day, it's just another piece of machinery. And so it should be."


   I am planning on building a large, "state-of-the-art" HO-scale home layout prototypically based on CSX Transportation's Kingsport Subdivision of the Corbin Division, circa mid-summer of '91 through early fall of '93.  My current track plan, developed primarily by Matt Robertson is HERE and includes Sheby, KY as partially-scenicked north-end open staging, an approximate 1:6 mileage compression ratio, linear walkaround, double-decked mainline depicting Shelby, KY to Dante, VA, complete with all in-service sidings, spurs, junctions, and Clinchfield-trademark Layout Design Elements, and Dante, VA.  Elkhorn [City]'s track plan (schematic) will be 100% prototypical and only compressed proportionally to accomodate planned layout train lengths.  (Unit coal trains are planned at 38-45 cars; the time freights will be built/blocked to average around 30-40 cars.  The Haysi Railroad, or Greenbriar Branch, is modeled with over two scale miles of run up the branch and all in-service loaders are modeled.  This will probably be mitigated, however, with a planned 12x16 addition to the basement that the plan has not been modified to utilize yet.  The McClure spur will be a scenic and operational highlight and will likely host a coal company switch job to operate a reasonably complex and accurate rendition of the prep plant.  The remains of the Nora Branch and the branch to Neece Creek will be modeled with hidden staging that will be able to contain one unit train.  Dante, like Elkhorn, will be 100% prototypical in schematic and only compressed in length.  South end staging is on a bottom third deck, the north end of which is scenicked depicts the station/yard office area of Kingsport, TN, as well as a few industries, which, along with the switching of setouts and pickups by the time freights, will necessitate a Kingsport yard crew during operating sessions.  Modeling Kingsport separately at the staging yard will require a 60 mile "jump" up or down the railroad when operating road trains.  The inherent unrealism of this fact will be partly mitigated by a large helix, so as to not leave scenery in Kingsport and then immediately arrive in Dante, 59 miles away, and vice versa. 

   The layout will be operated in a chronologically-continuous format, starting at 0001 on a date in 1991 yet to be determined and time will progress on a slow-rate fast clock (3:1 or slower, or perhaps even 1:1, accepting artificially fast over-the-road times) as the layout is being operated and time will stop at the completion of sessions, to be continued at that moment at the start of the next session.  All coal traffic will be loaded/unloaded with live loads and "going-off-the-layout" road power will not be re-used in the same session.  Consideration will be given to origins/destinations of cars' waybills when restaging. (e.g. - Green Mountain or Spruce Pine cars will be allowed to reappear on the layout faster than the SPFE reefer returning to SoCal for another load of lettuce.)  Car management will be handled with a computer waybill system that will output products resembling prototypical CSX crew papers, including replication of "CMSFLOW" movements.  All on- and off-layout waybilling will mimic the prototype as much as possible and as the growing size of my rolling stock roster allows.  (i.e. - each car will have more than 'four' possible routings!)  Bruce Chubb's C/MRI system will run Clinchfield-correct CTC signals with 100% accuracy, as well as grade crossing detection and other circtuit detection, CTC dispatching capable of geographically remote control, etc.  All rolling stock will be accurate for the time period, although I will allow anything that falls within my modeled time period as fair game.  e.g. - new or repainted equipment from 1993 will be operated from the get-go in "1991."  There will be no trip pins and all rolling stock will be equipped with details to include, at a minimum, cut levers and air hoses, and in most cases, additional fine detailing to RPM standards.  Motive power predominantly will be to RPM quality and "super-detailed" at a minimum.  At this time, my plan is to equip all power with sound (Soundtraxx until something better comes along) as time and money allows.  (See HERE.)  DCC system will be NCE.  I will make a passionate and sincere attempt to maintain the layout physical plant at a level commensurate with my high standards of everything else.

   I realize my objectives and aspirations for The Kingsport Sub. are extremely lofty and I'm aware of the time, cost, effort, and dedication it will take to achieve them.  I firmly believe, however, they are not unrealistic and strongly believe my passion and relatively young age will allow this layout to be the source of a lifetime of enjoyment for me and ANYONE who'd like to be involved at any level.  But I also will keep it in perspective and ensure that the layout always stays in proper balance with family, my professional life, and life in general, I guess.  I want it to be a team effort and hope anyone who wants to be involved will contact me.  I expect to begin finishing the basement/preparing the layout room late winter/early spring and I hope layout construction commences prior to the start of summer.  If I (we) build it, I hope you will come!

B. P. Bennett

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010.