Derrell Poole provides an editorial contemplating his decision to model Buffalo, Colorado in Sn3:
|Denver Public Library|
First, after much comparing to that of a Breckenridge layout, I came to the conclusion that the space I have isn't very conducive to such a project. There are allot of interesting things about Breckenridge including the two 3-way stubs. But I went back and took a second look at Buffalo. I really like this plan; it does have some shortcomings however. The depth of the town itself, placed more or less in the middle of the tracks, presented some reach issues. I think I figured out a fair solution - not ideal but doable. The back drop will be left open at Mod-D. A panel will be provided for photos or show type ops (like there would EVER be a show here!) - well, visitors at least. Do I even get visitors? The other thing that is lacking is more switches in the plan. But look anywhere on this railroad and find were more than a couple of switches occupy any given Station (Breckenridge would be one of those few exceptions with 11 switches within a stones throw of the depot!).
Buffalo has a lot of opportunity for building some interesting structures. Unless you have acres of layout there are not that many structures at Breckenridge immediately around the depot; a couple of sheds, a water column (novel, but not a tank) a sampling works and a small power plant. If I extend the line south as far as I can I can get in a bridge. I'd love to build the Dredge Boat northeast of the Depot (at the north end of the yard but I don't have the acreage for it so at best it would be painted onto the backdrop - as would most of the town! And we aren't anywhere near getting the Gold Pan works in.
Buffalo is quaint. It has a number of interesting structures to build including the Riverside tank which was built on the side of the hill. The layout is easily expandable to include Pine. That's nice. Breckenridge isn't very expandable without deviating from the layout of the prototype considerably. Whats nice about this plan of Buffalo is that it is pretty close to the prototype size where as Breckenridge was gonna be compressed quite a bit. No, Buffalo isn't perfect, but I get two pretty good sized bridges in to boot.
One of the problems with any layout is return loops. I have developed a true hatred for them. They eat up a huge chunk of space - and for what? So you can turn a train around and more or less run continually?
So I got to thinking; "continuous running". Where is it written that continuous running means the same train? Is it not still continuous running so long as something is always moving? It's not like any of us are building layouts that can operate 20 trains at the same time anyway. And who among us plan to "continuous run" for more than an hour or so at a time anyway?
You will see in the plan I have divested myself of the return loop! None! Zero. What I've come up with is two pivoting fiddle yards where I can stage 5 (or more) trains. My longest train would be 94" (3 engines, 10 cars and a bobber). If I stage 3 freights and a couple of passengers I can put as many as 12 or 13 engines to work and never see any of them more than once while "continuous running". This is about as much as I would want to do in an operating session anyway. Of course there are more details to it all that but I think y'all get the idea.
The plan is shown below. Comments are welcome, of course - maybe you see a glaring issue I've over looked. But I'll tell you this - I'm just about ready to start building. I'm getting my materials together and working on the design of the modules. I'll probably set up an L-girder substructure to mount the modules. You'll notice too that the modules are really pretty uniform even tho they have some odd angles. I don't think anything is bigger than 2'x6' and they will be built to come apart. I'm going to put in a lighting valance partially suspended from the ceiling. The Town module in the middle is nothing more than a blue foam drop-in that can be lifted out as an alternative to the open backed of Mod-D; if you were standing in the middle of the town you could definitely reach everything in Buffalo - but I like those stone buildings!
Thanks for looking.