Rainbows in the Lehigh Valley Gorge
Here we go....  my thread on this forum for my model railroad.  Hope to add to this - paralleling my website devoted to the same subject.

I'll start at the beginning in Armstrong fashion by filling out the Givens and Druthers:

This is the “Givens and Druthers” that the late John Armstrong used when designing layouts for people. It’s a very useful way to clarify your thoughts about what you want to do with yoThis is the “Givens and Druthers” that the late John Armstrong used when designing layouts for people. It’s a very useful way to clarify your thoughts about what you want to do with your model railroad.

Givens and Druthers

"Rainbows in the Gorge"
Scale:  HO
Gauge: Standard

Prototype: The section of the ex-Lehigh Valley mainline running between Jim Thorpe through White Haven, PA, now known as the Lehigh Valley Gorge.  The trackage rights were owned by Conrail, but the Delaware and Hudson also had rights on the same tracks during the period I'm modeling. 

Era: Summer of 1976
Region: Lehigh Valley Gorge
Railroad: Conrail and Delaware and Hudson


The layout runs around my office, which is a wierd space in my basement.  Diagram is below:


Governing Rolling Stock: Primary trains running through the gorge included the Apollo TOFC trains on 89' flat cars.  I also run a coal drag and a local cement train running from Allentown to Wilkes Barre.

Relative Emphasis: (move the V)

Track/Operation .................................................. ..Scenic realism
Mainline Running .................................................. ........ Switching

Operation Priorities: (rearrange as required)

1. Main-Line Freight Train Operations

Typical operating Crew: ___1___

Eye Level (Owner) _63__In.

Add to this any features required or intolerable (e.g. duckunders, multiple levels).ur model railroad.

Features include sharp turns and grades running at around 2% - 2 duckunders were deemed necessary to allow the office to function.  Eye level operation and freedom below the layout for storage and access.  I wanted to store trains on the lower level and have them magically appear on the upper level using a tunnel (there is one in the gorge at Rockport) and some cleverly disguised buildings in the town of Hazleton.

Next post will be my track diagram (circa 2006 in pencil).
Check out my "Rainbows in the Gorge" website: http://morristhemoosetm.wixsite.com/rainbows
So, I had this weirdly shaped room and a vision of what I'd like to model.  It was going to be mainline action in a very remote and scenic wilderness.  I'd include the town of White Haven, PA and a little bit of Hazleton, PA.  I'd also include the Mud Run curve, Rockport tunnel, the railroad bridge over the Lehigh just south of White Haven, and Penn Haven Junction.  But I really didn't know that for sure - I got pictures of these areas and looked for design opportunities to add each.

I made a lot of wild plans that included helixes, peninsulas jutting into the room, etc. before settling on a plan that works for this room:  (this was on two pieces of graph paper)


There's some overlap on the drawing, sorry about that, maybe I'll try to cut it down.  Someday I'll also make a better color representation. 

This diagram is oriented the same way as my "floor plan" presented in my previous message.  There's a doorway into the room, a duckunder to the middle of the room, and then in the lower left corner, another duckunder to get to my library.  I've only had a few "run-ins" with the duckunders, but they are memorable.

Anyway, this is just a very basic "twice around" loop on two levels.  The exterior loop runs down to the storage level and joins the second interior loop at two switches (one at Penn Haven Junction near a bridge over the Lehigh, one inside Rockport tunnel) which force the trains to the upper level.  As the exterior loop runs down, the interior loop is running up to allow for headroom for the trains running on the storage level.  The highpoint of the layout is just before a bridge over the Lehigh River just south of the town of White Haven.  At some point very soon I'll share a video I took of a train running all the way around the layout.

The storage level has 4 parallel tracks at it's widest point - three sets of ladder switches that allow for trains to run around the ladders.  Unfortunately, I've found that the outer two segments of the ladder are the only ones long enough to house my TOFC and coal drag trains, so they really clog things up down there - I should have provided for longer ladders, but too late now.

The whole idea was to allow me to run trains all day while I work in my office.  If I got bored, I'd switch out a train and run another.  One of my other interests was actually trying to do some scenery to model the lonely old gorge.

I could have modeled double track operations through the gorge since it was still double-tracked in 1976.  Today it's a single track, and that's what I decided to go with to allow for more room to model scenery.
Check out my "Rainbows in the Gorge" website: http://morristhemoosetm.wixsite.com/rainbows
Step one is always the hardest, not sure how any of us gets our layouts started, but it looks like you're on the right track (pun intended)....

Keep us posted on your progress
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
I like your plan and it should work without any major problems. 
I started drawing layouts when I was in grade school and running American Flyer. If I had a dime for all the layouts I have drawn over the years I could buy a steak dinner. My current layout is the first one that I built from a drawing and I still changed it significantly during construction.  I need to make a revised drawing to post to my layout thread. I look forward to your posts and thanks for contributing. You are helping to fill a void. 
In my last installment of this thread I promised some video.  The link below is a video taken earlier this week with a camera mounted on a flat car and pushed by one of my trains.  The film starts exiting the Hazleton end of the storage yard, rises through the Black Creek to Penn Haven Junction, runs through the Rockport tunnel and up through Mud Run Curve and White Haven, PA before heading back over the river and emerging back on the other side of the switch at Penn Haven Junction, goes through the tunnel and down into the storage area.  Some of the coverage is in dark sections of the storage area - my apologies.  I've been meaning to install some LED strip lights down there but haven't procured the hardware.  Enjoy!

Check out my "Rainbows in the Gorge" website: http://morristhemoosetm.wixsite.com/rainbows
Outstanding. Your scenery is beautiful.  Worship Worship Worship
Awesome video!
Silence is golden but Duct tape is silver
Ridley Keystone & Mountain Railroad
My Rail Images Gallery
Glad you like that.  Still quite a bit to do.  I'm concentrating my efforts on the areas between the track and the backdrop when I get a little free time.  In the spring and summer months, that free time is in very short bursts.
Check out my "Rainbows in the Gorge" website: http://morristhemoosetm.wixsite.com/rainbows

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