The Home and
Design of the RGW....
Outlines the Design Ideals and Methods of the RGW
(Shell) - Train Room (Interior)
- Layout Design
You will find
that our design methodology is based on the very rich tradition established by
the greatest layout designer of our time, John Armstrong. It was a sincere
pleasure to meet him in April of 1998 at the PSMRE layout and a privilege to
bestow upon him, honorary membership in the association during his visit (see
picture at left).
tradition established by Mr. Armstrong, we started the design of the railroad
with our version of
Givens & Druthers, an Armstrong method of finding the common
ground between your ultimate railroad and your practical railroad. As you
can see from my G&D specifications, the RGW is to be a modern railroad, with
large diesels as the main motive power and oversize cars being the rule rather
than the exception. In addition, the "relative emphasis" category gives
you a bit of an insight into my desire that realistic operation is more
important on the RGW than is scenic realism.
This means it is preferable to have unique industry and switching opportunities
as opposed to long runs through areas heavy in scenery. One of the true
advantages of a building this size, and with at least two levels of track, you
can ultimately have a little bit of both.
The "operating governance" section is the designer's way of
saying, "these are my minimum standards". In this section you specify the
minimum radius of your curves, the maximum grade you will permit on your pike
and any other specifications you want your design and ultimately your crew to
build in place. The "operating priorities" section gives you the chance to
lay out in your mind how you want your railroad to look, the primary industries
you desire, perhaps even those you really will design your railroad around.
In my case, that means coal. While the coal mines in Black Diamond still
operate, the coal is trucked to Ravensdale, where it is loaded on railcars.
I prefer to envision that the RGW assisted the Palmer Coke & Coal Company to
remain viable through the railroad and not over-the-highway.
Very early on in my design, I decided to put to use the
design tool CADRAIL. Designed
by Sandia Software, CADRAIL is a modified computer aided design program that,
once learned, makes the conversion of your design from "minds-eye" to "on
paper", much easier. Sandia has done an excellent job in adding tools that
assist the designer. Tools I find especially useful are the auto-align and
auto-trim features. These tools allow you to quickly connect figures
(lines, curves) together and eliminate the excess. The creation of
easements with the use of the fit to tangents tool is also very beneficial.
One of the more useful features of CADRAIL is the use of layers. Layers
allow you to design different features of the railroad on their own level, then
you can select which layers to view. I choose to put layers in categories;
some examples include benchwork, electrical, mainline track, hidden staging and
the like. I even save one for text, so that I can hide it for design
purposes, but show it for descriptive purposes.
Following the basic track plan described in the G&D,
but since modified to be more functional, our
design essentially starts in South Seattle yard then heads south until it
reaches Black River Junction just west of Renton, Washington. The RGW takes
ownership of the line east of Black River. There are two branches on the
main level of the layout; the first runs through Renton, and includes the
RGW-owned Renton Yard. It heads east through rural King County, along the
Cedar River, turning south at the Old Maple Valley Junction, where the CPSRR (Columbia and
Puget Sound RR) actually ran
south through Black Diamond to Franklin. There is an interchange with the
BNSF at Palmer Junction. BNSF then runs back to staging along newly
installed concrete ties to the helix and finally staging. The second
branch is a BNSF-owned line that heads north
to Maltby, WA. On this line, the RGW serves Boeing and Pacific Car &
Foundry as well as other Renton-based industries. There is also an
excursion train that runs north to the wineries in Woodinville.
Our first design in 1996 was put
together for a 14 x 25 ft basement room. It ran through a closet and down
through an enclosed single track "tunnel" in an adjoining room's closet.
The "tunnel" was enclosed so that the closet could still be used by the kids and
not have the trains derail. Once the track became visible, it ran through
Black Diamond and then along the wall. There was also a helix in the lower
corner that had yet to be completed for a planned second level.
After our move to Black Diamond, we decided to redesign the
layout to take advantage of the new space, while still using the basic elements
of the first railroad. Our original
(July 2005) makes good use of the room, providing distinct viewing areas with
the help of the backdrops. Remember it is a work in process, branch line
detail has yet to be put in and no industry trackage is designed. Here is
a quick link to our original hidden staging.