Monday, March 16, 2009

The Story Behind Rosenberg Meet

Last weekend was another productive one for me. I am happy with this latest track plan for Rosenberg Meet.

Let me run you through this update and the motives behind each track arrangement, position and industry. Give me your feedbacks - positive and areas to improve. I always welcome comments.

Overall Layout
My layout will occupy the existing 11.5ft x 10.5ft utility room. President has approved my real estate acquisition based on the boundries below. I need to present to the Board of Directors the budget, revenue projections, etc. for this project. After all, nobody wants to run a loss-making enterprise, even in a 1:160 world.

Why Rosenberg?
Tower 17 interlocking tower charmed me when I first saw Wes Carr's photo. Since then, I have been researching more about Rosenberg and this is the one for me. I like BNSF and UP, the two Class 1 railroad west of Mississippi River. Both railroads run long trains on their respective subdivision to Galveston.

Modelling BNSF Galveston and UP Glidden subs along this stretch in my utility room fit nicely.

Focus is Tower 17 Rosenberg
I kept reminding myself that Tower 17 junction had to be right to capture the feel and awe of BSNF and UP trains crossing each other. Today, Tower 17 is a museum piece but on my layout, I want to re-enact the last few days of Tower 17 still in operations and with various BNSF and UP liveries still plying that route (if you see some of the photos taken by railfans, SP, SF, BN liveries are still spotted) Tower 17 will NEVER be boring. There is a story to tell and I will be the story teller.

Both UP Glidden track and BNSF Galveston tracks run parallel to each other east of the Tower 17. UP Glidden (to Houston) will disappear at Point B to subroad level and re-emerge at Point B after Alvin. I will model the cotton gin factory at the curve and north of I-90 highway.

Smither's Lake
Between Richmond and Alvin, there is a junction to Thompsons and Smither's Lake where Houston Light and Power (HL&P) coal-fired power plant is located. I will model compressed coal deposit pit and power plant. The track to no-where is the bypass track that connects to UP Popp sub at Alvin. So, it looks like it disappear off the scene and reappear as 90deg crossing at Alvin. Cool eh?

Algoa is the intersection between UP Angelston, BNSF Mykawa and BNSF Galveston subdivisions. As mentioned earlier, trains will reappear on Point B and cross below the bridge after Alvin (in reality, there is no such crossing) I added to make the UP Glidden run more interesting as well as allowing UP Glidden to have a continuous running. I added a wye near Algoa which connects to UP Angelston (lift-up bridge) to the other side of upper deck and another track that disappears to no-where.

On BNSF Galveston, the track after Algoa will head downgrade to a helix to lower deck (staging yard for now, Galveston in the future).

There is some empty space right of Algoa (above the helix). I want to model grain elevator. Thus, I am using my creative license to do just that. Is there one in the real Algoa? I did not see it in Google Map.

West of Tower 17
The double track north of Tower 17 is BNSF Galveston sub to Sealy and Temple. Not much focus there but the tracks are long enough to hold 2 locos + 10 cars (represented by light blue line and curve). It heads to Point C and into a double track helix to lower deck staging.

Meanwhile UP Glidden heads west to San Antonio (represented by track to helix). I don't plan to do much at this corner.

Upper Deck

Tell me what you think
I am happy with the overall layout and track arrangement. I will be using Atlas and ME code 55 flextracks and turnouts. The minimum radius is 15 inch to accomodate 6-axle power motives that ply the route. I could not go beyond 15 inch without compromising on the aisle space.

This layout is intended to be run by 3-4 operators. The layout will be DCC using NCE PowerCab (and upgrade to PowerPro later).

The turnouts will be #5 and #7 for most of the locations. I am considering whether to invest in handlaid turnouts. I have 26 turnouts at upper deck. Maybe it is economical after all to buy Fast Track jigs and do it myself.

Model Railroader:

Jimmy Low


Anonymous said...


I'm not the best layout designer, but it looks like you have a good plan. I know you face challenges in research and getting the correct models and supplies sent to you. Your location give the "Trip to the LHS" new meaning.

Look at Fast Tracks for turnout construction. It may save some money to invest in this system. You can always start a side business selling custom turnouts in Asia. You would probably have a monopoly.

Pete Steinmetz
Modeling Donner Pass in N Scale

mytrainmaster said...


Thanks for your feedback. I agree with you that it is a challenge in research and getting the right models. I am enjoying every step. 5 days as business development manager and 2 days as railroad civil engineer. I really appreciate all the advice and comments from fellow modellers in TrainBoard and MR Forum. Kenneth, Russell, Denny, Stephen and a few others have been very helpful in correcting my plan. Finally, I like the upper deck layout. I can't wait to start construction :)

I will check out FastTrack jigs. They look impressive. The Warris brothers did a great job.

You read my mind about customised tracks for Asia market :)