About the MFR

The Metaline Falls Railroad (MFR) is a proto-freelanced model railroad based on the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad located in northern Idaho and north eastern Washington State. For the very latest on the layout, please visit my YouTube channel and follow along with my Instagram account.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Givens and Druthers

There is a popular term amongst model railroaders known as "Givens and Druthers". This refers to a list of "Givens" (hard and fast requirements for a model railroad which act as constraints for the modeler to work within)  and "Druthers" (design guidelines that help to set direction for the modeler)

So, this may come a bit late, but so as not to be left out of the fun...

  • The modeled portion of the layout will be 2'X10' with design considerations for an adequate staging area off layout.
  • The layout must be built in sections with construction techniques that allow the layout to be moved to another home with little difficulty.
  • The layout must be designed with operations in mind. Layout height, wiring, coupler, turnout, and locomotive control should all be designed for both ease of use and enjoyment

  • Operations should be simple, yet elegant.  The emphasis will be on fewer industries and longer sidings as opposed to a lot of industries, short sidings and overly complicated track work.
  • Operational design should allow for a typical ops session lasting about an hour.
  • The design must include a large industrial complex as a showcase for intricate design and kit bashing and to serve as a focal point for operations on the layout.
  • The design must also incude a scenic river scene to showcase a faithful interpretation of the box canyon dam and bridge.
  • The overall theme of the model railroad is one of a small shortline struggling to earn it's keep with few customers and difficult economic conditions.  All artistic design considerations, (from choosing which season to model, to detailing the level of distress on mainline track) should be made with the layout's theme in mind.
That should about do it.  I've found that by distilling all of my wants and needs down to a few small bullet points, I end up with a plan that feels very focused and purposeful.  I feel that focus and purpose is key to the success of any model railroad, but when you are limited by space and money, (as I am)  this list of "Givens and Druthers" becomes all the more important.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Track Plan #3

The track is laid down now, so this is the final track plan.  My goal was to create an operationally interesting design without filling up the space with a mess of unrealistic trackwork. I am pretty happy with the results.
A typical operation session would unfold as follows:
The BNSF arrives from Newport (staging) with cars destined for industries on the layout.  
The MFTR local switcher collects the cars, sorts them at the yard and readies them for distribution.
Loaded Cement hoppers are replaced with empties at the Cement Factory.
Empty pulpwood cars are spotted at the sawmill.
The switcher then performs a run around maneuver to set up the boxcars and tank cars for delivery on the facing-point siding at the Paper Recycling Facility.
Cars are spotted at the appropriate doors at the Recycling Facility.  Some cars may need to be moved temporarily to allow others to be pulled or spotted.
Cars destined for Newport (staging) are then collected and readied for their destination at Newport.
BNSF collects the outbound cars and returns to Newport (staging).
Industries typically receive the following cars per operating session:
Cement Factory: 4-6 2-Bay Covered Hoppers
Paper Recycling Facility: 1-3 50' Boxcars, 0-1 Tank car
Sawmill: 1-2 Pulpwood cars

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's Working!

Having just completed wiring the layout, I decided to switch a few cars around just to test that everything is working properly.  The track still needs a bit of TLC to iron out a few rough spots and then a good cleaning, but I am pretty happy with it so far!

Taking inspiration from Mike Confalone's trackwork on the Woodsville Terminal, I decided to lay the track in a manner that simulates rough, under-maintained track. It's been a bit of a balancing act trying to make it look "messed up" without actually messing it up!