MEC and B&M Scenic NH Railway - Track Plan
Here is the track plan for what I will tentatively call the MEC and B&M NH Scenic Railway. Overall it goes from Dover NH, through Madison to North Conway. I include a couple sidings at Intervale to hand off trains from B&M power to MEC power, since they didn;t share power in the period modelled (1950s). The MEC section then proceeds to Bartlett for helpers, and on up to Crawford notch before skiping ahead to terminate at the Gilman VT paper mill. The plan has upper and middle operational levels spanning the above locations. It also has a lower under layout staging level that also has a mainline for involvement in the two continuous running options. Level heights are lower than most might advise, but this is by design. The upper level needs to be viewable reasonably by individuals 5'0' and above. So the zero-track height before grades for the upper level is planned to be 57". The zero-track height before grades for the middle level will be 34" and also makes modelling from a stool convenient rather than standing.
The first diagram is of the upper level. It begins at the top of the double helix in the lower left using the outer track of the helix to have come up from the middle level. Frankenstein Trestle, the most significant inspiration from which this railroad springs, will be modelled in all its glory. On that side, the distance between the bottom of the shelf above which the trestle is modelled will be at it's closest to the middle level (about 12"), to allow sufficient modelling height for the Trestle while still allowing for the Gilman VT end to connect back to helix section with a duck-under drop in section. I am keeping the shelf width narrowest at the left so the 12" below it is enough for viewing and operation of the Bartlett yard below it in the middle level. I will also include the bridge at Willey brook and the rock cut the rail emerges from into the Crawford Notch station area. I will be planning to scratch build the Crawford House as it was in the era. Finally, at Gilman VT, in operating sessions with others the line ends. But in continuous running, for my own and family/friends enjoyment, there will be a drop-in section which branches right for an upper level only continuous run and branches left to the inner track of the double helix to go down for a continuous running iption that traverses the entire layout using the lowest staging level to get back around to Dover, NH.
The next diagram is the middle level, starting with Dover, NH, where the tracks emerge from the under layout lower staging level and proceeeding through Madison station and the beaver marshes Marc Stowbridge inspired me to include. I then have North Conway which I will also leverage for family fun sessions out of period running the Conway Scenic Railroad. Another major scratch building project here will be the station there. I include sidings at Intervale for switching to MEC power from B&M power during period operations. Then there is Bartlett for the helpers to climb into Crawford notch. The use of helpers in the prototype due to the grade into the notch is a big help to my layout as they will be useful for the up hill climb through the helix to the upper level. The right branch from Bartlett to the outer track of the double helix is the path up to the upper level. The left branch from Bartlett joins the inner track of the double helix heading down to the under layout staging. The provides the ability to have twocontinuous running trains simultaneously, one staying on the upper level and one using the middle level and going back around through the staging without requiring a middle level drop-in or hinged connection across the aisle. Since the upper level drop in will be around 54", it makes an ok duck-under whereas the middle level would not.
Finally, I show the lower staging level. The level provides staging for over 100 cars as diagrammed with plenty of room for more staging tracks and also includes a connection between the bottom of the inner track of the helix and the point of emerging in the middle layer in Dover. Clearance between the middle level and the staging is a bit tight, at about 6" to reach in. But I located most the switches of the staging ladder as close as I could to the front, so I do not foresee a problem with that.
It will be a couple weeks before I start building the benchwork, a combination of L-girder and open grid in different lower and middle level sections, and bracket supported shelf and risers for the upper level.
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