Barney Secord flies the Grand Valley...
...and Erie Northshore mainline.
Occasionally, people ask to see a trackplan of my layout.  Since the layout was built without the constrictions of such a drawing, I instead asked Barney to fly and photograph the Grand Valley's line from staging to South Cayuga, then follow the Erie Northshore's track from there to its western terminus at Port Maitland.  This should help to clarify the track layout for those interested in such trivia.  Some of the pictures remind me of those Google Earth views, leading me to believe that Mister Secord may have been the inspiration for the old song "Barney Google, (with the goo-goo-googley eyes)".

Here's the south staging yard, looking north.


The five staging tracks funnel into a double tracked main as they approach the entrance to the layout:


Slipping the plane sideways, we get a glimpse of one of two tracks immediately below the staging yard.  These represent the sidings of un-modelled industries, a good way to generate traffic without using a lot of modelling space.  To the right of that, on an even lower level, is a coal train on the TH&B interchange track.  This track enters the layout, after crossing the entryway into the layout room, at Port Maitland, Barney's eventual destination today.


In this view, from left to right, we see the double tracked "High Line" as it nears the entrance to the layout, then, below that, the "Old Line", also about to enter the layout into the industrial district, and, at right, the tail end of the TH&B interchange track:


Here's the opening through the backdrop along the "High Line" - Barney's plane will fit (he measured it), but there are two overhead passageways connecting the warehouses of National Grocers, plus a pair of telltales and a water column between the tracks:


This is the opening through which switching crews on the "Old Line" gain access to those un-modelled industries (Barney's plane won't fit)  Misngth.  That's the Evell Casket Company at right, with Wilkinson-Kompass beyond:


Back on the "High Line", National Grocers is on either side of the main here, with the "Old Line" visible at right.  Also visible is a passage way, the water column, and the telltales:


This is overlooking the "Old Line" again, with National Grocers centre-left and Wilkinson-Kompass at right:


An overview of Dunnville, with the main station beyond National Grocers on the Highline, and the John Bertram Machine Works opposite the station.  The Old line is also visible here, running between Bertram's and the Walnut St. Freight Terminal (team track):


The same general view as the previous shot, although shifted somewhat to the east.  The multiple-track crossing is on Walnut St, which then ducks under the High Line.  The track on the High Line remains un-ballasted, to allow removal of the structures, as I need to install some backdrop detail where the streets dead-end at the wall:


We're over Bertram's now, approaching their offices, with Creechan's Fine Fuels just across Liberty St.  Visible at left is the Post Office wing of the Station, with P&M Languay Co. Ltd. beyond that.  The water tower near the top centre of the photo supplies two columns - the one seen earlier and another directly across the track from the tower:


This is Airline Junction, technically no longer a junction, since the west-bound track (leading off to the top-left, under the street bridge) was severed some years ago due to numerous washouts along the Lake Erie shoreline.  The Junction now serves as a wye, both for switchers working Dunnville and for turning locos after arrival at the staging yards - it's a short hop, and usually done after an operating session.  Creechan's yard is at lower left, while the siding at lower right leads to Hoffentoth Bros.' ice house.  I hope to supplement the handful of commercial buildings at the top of the photo with a residential neighbourhood, mostly backyards along the track:


While Barney's plane has turned, we're still heading north.  Beyond the yet-to-be-built neighbourhood is Mercury Knitting Mills, overlooking Hoffentoth's Ice House.  At bottom centre is the Old Line, with one leg of the wye joining it from the left, while at left, the two tracks of the High Line merge just past the switch for Mercury Mills.  The High Line here is heading down grade, while the Old Line is ascending:




While the tracks level out at the switch, soon after crossing the short concrete arch over Negro Creek, they begin to ascend again:


The dark waters of the creek are almost obscured by the trees and undergrowth:


Barely out of Dunnville, we're already approaching the southern outskirts of South Cayuga.  Hoffentoth Coal & Ice is "in a location near you", and this town is no exception.  The barren field at right will eventually become an orchard, and the other structures in this view will likely find a home on the second level of the layout:



In this view, the area to the right (along the aisle) is mostly "finished", with a Grand Valley section house, Division St., and the South Cayuga station.  The house/team track is right at the edge of the layout, with the tower (Cayuga Junction) beyond.  To the left of the main line, the town is "under construction".  The freight house will likely stay, as South Cayuga is the junction point between the Grand Valley and the Erie Northshore, with lots of LCL transfers, along with interchange of complete cars and trains.


The water tower here also serves two columns, located between the mains, as seen in the previous photos.  Located at left, between the water tower and the freight house, is Barney's own Secord Distributing, where Barney promises "I can get it for you wholesale!"  Goldth   At right, the Cayuga Junction tower, and beyond that, a section house belonging to the Erie Northshore:


The track diverging to the left is the Grand Valley main line that will lead (eventually) to the second level of the layout.  It begins to climb immediately after passing that switch, with  most of the 45' (actual) grade at 2.5%, although there's a short section just before the first bridge at 2.8%.  The Erie Northshore's line swings off the right, meanwhile, and begins its descent, also at 2.5%, towards Lake Erie:


The steepness of the grades isn't too noticeable from the air, but at eye-level it's very pronounced.  I hope that, once the "desert" scenery gets a blanket of southern Ontario forest, this will be less noticeable, at least to viewers - operators will know that it's there.  Eek  The two lines cross the Speed River here, with the Northshore's line, now westbound, plunging into a tunnel while the Grand Valley track continues upgrade and north.


That's River Road snaking alongside the Speed:



This is the scene that came into view as Barney's plane cleared the mountain.  The mainline exits the tunnel through a short cut, then passes a stockpen on the right.  Across the tracks is the Elfrida tank, where almost all eastbound trains are required to take water.  That's the tank's pumphouse at the end of the gravel road.  A line of telegraph poles wends its way up the hillside through a cleared right-of-way, with the Elfrida Stove Works to the left on the end of the siding.  Beyond the gravel road crossing is the E.D. Smith cannery:


Elfrida is another town "under construction", with most of the town between the cannery and the grain elevator in the distance yet to be finalised.  The section sheds between the main line and the switching district denotes the extent of development here, with the structures to the north (right) mostly permanent.  Similar to South Cayuga, the house/team track skirts behind the station and extends beyond:


Here's a  closer view of the station, built to a Grand Valley design after the original burned down some years ago.  Beyond is B. Piersanti & Sons egg-grading station, with the team track yard behind.  To the south (left), the Dominion Lightning Rod Co. is seen, along with the Co-op's elevator, and another Hoffentoth Bros. yard at the end of the siding:



Shortly after leaving town, already heading down grade, the track crosses Chippawa Creek - first-time riders on the numerous summer excursion trains to Lowbanks are often surprised by the view as the train, already on the first span, bursts from between the trees, offering a panoramic view of the creek below:


As seen here, the bridge is on a gentle curve:


Not far beyond the west bank of the creek is Indian Line.  The aerial view shows how rapidly the road conditions deteriorate as they move away from the populated centres  Wink  Misngth :



The barren field at centre-right is my excuse for not yet having started the benchwork for the second level of the layout - I need to construct and install "Tite-Lock" fencing on all those fence posts  Eek, while they're still reasonably accessible:

Next up is the Maitland River - the view from eye-level is of the river emptying into Lake Erie, although, from above, that illusion is pretty-well shattered  35 



As trains near the west end of the span, the town of Lowbanks slowly comes into view:


That's the Stockyards on the left side (south), with section sheds clustered around the water tank on the north side of the track.  The pumphouse can be partially seen at far lower-right, on the pathway leading to the river:


As in most of the towns along the line, much of the switching district is on a switchback.  On the south side of the main is another Hoffentoth Bros.' coal yard, followed by the green buildings of the V.A. Wagner lumber yard.  In the far distance, on the tail of the switchback, is Hoffentoth's main ice house, mostly a storage and distribution centre for their facilities throughout the region.  Shoe-horned in between that and the main line is the Lowbanks station, which also houses some of the road's general offices.  To the north of the main, the Lowbanks Carshops, with the engine servicing facilities beyond:


Here's a closer look at the service area.  With trains on both main tracks, this looks like an especially busy place. However, the eastbound train on the south main is just getting underway, while the one on the north main has just arrived off the TH&B interchange.  Some of its cars are for local delivery, while others will head east on a later train:


Here we're over the main shop building, with its outdoor crane partially visible at top right.  Also visible here, between the crane and the hopper on the siding, is the road's Oil House, where kerosene and lube oil and grease are kept.  The siding is often used for holding loaded and empty hoppers for the coaling tower.  To the left, just visible around the curve of the "sky", is the power plant.  In addition to supplying electrical power to the area, it also provides the railroad with steam and compressed air, for use throughout the shop complex - the overhead delivery pipes still need to be installed  Wink  :


More of the power plant, with Finlay's Fresh Fish beyond:


The power plant straddles the border between Lowbanks and Port Maitland, with Finlay's actually in Port Maitland.  Beyond is the Port Maitland tower, centre of operations for the Erie Northshore and with jurisdiction over the line west to the TH&B interchange.  That's an inlet of lake Erie to the left, lapping at both the rocky shoreline behind the tower and at the nearby backdrop  Misngth  :


A view from over the tower.  The two tracks leading to the left are to GERN's Gibson Works, as is the switch at the top right of the photo.  The siding at right, along the edge of the layout, serves both as car storage and as a make-up/break-down track for trains to and from the TH&B:


Finally, almost at the end of the modelled line, is GERN, the road's largest customer.  The double track reverts to a single line in the canyon through the plant, then curves right, where it crosses a lift-out to the TH&B staging track, seen near the start of our journey:    




I hope that you've enjoyed your flight over the railroad.

For additional pictures of the layout, from a different point of view, check HERE


Attached Files Image(s)
Just a note to let everyone know that this thread has been unlocked. Goldth

Thanks Doc. I never tire of seeing your layout. It always gives ideas and helps me to dream about what my layout could look like one day.

Thumbsup Thumbsup Thumbsup Thumbsup Thumbsup
WOW Wayne, ive seen pics of your layout, but man these are really nice!! I always love seeing pics of your layout, and i dont know if you have ever done something like this before showing overall shots of your entire layout, for some reason i seem to remember a thread similar to this, but man i loved seeing your layout!!! Really, there is to much to comment on, two words is all that comes to mind without taking hours to point out everything i saw that i liked, BEAUTIFUL WORK!!! And Wayne, your trackwork looks outstanding and flows so smoothly. Excellent work!!!
Josh Mader

Maders Trains
Offering everyday low prices for the Model Railroad World
w00t w00t!!! Thanks for the tour Doc...I mean Barney!? :|
Big Grin Thumbsup
Life should not be a journey to the grave with intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke thoroughly used up totally worn out and loudly proclaiming
WOW! What a ride! H.S.Thompson
Great great pictures. Please pass on my thanks to Barney. Once again, his steady hand flying makes for a good picture. Cheers

Tremendous layout. I plan on studying the details and building placement for a while and incorporating some of the ideas into my layout. I like the way you "bent" buildings to fit them into the space you had.

My thanks again to Barney. And thanks for the layout tour. Thumbsup

Citation Latitude Captain
Lt Colonel, USAF (Retired)
What a great tour! I love seeing layouts from a higher prospective so that we can see how all the great scenes tie together. Thanks!
SUPER tour Wayne! Thanks!

Thanks for the tour. I book marked it so I can refer to it for ideas.

I got my first train when I was three,
put a hundred thousand miles on my knees.
Barney must have been "off" the juice for a couple of days before this flight....No flying into tunnels or under bridges...Good man. We're all the better off for it, his steady hand at the yoke is evident as he followed this gorgeous RR line from one end to the other....Certainly an A++ for this tour..!!! Thumbsup
Gus (LC&P).
Impressive Doc.

Both Barney's flying and the terrain he flew over.

Well done.... Cheers
Will Annand
CVR in N Scale
<!-- w --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- w -->
Your pictures are always so realistic, but now that Barney has flown it it gives me a better idea of the overall picture.
I recognized most of the areas but now I know the route a little better. Buy Barney a drink.
Wayne --

I've seen pics of your layout before - and it looks even more impressive from these "aerial" shots than from "ground level" - since it shows more of how you have achieved that wonderfully realistic look to your scenes.

Three cheers for both you and Barney!

Thanks to all for the kind words. Big Grin

Great layout!
Great pics!
Any more?
Torrington, Ct.
NARA Member #87
I went to my Happy Place, but it was closed for renovations.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)