Lyon Valley Northern

This site is designed to promote the hobby of ferroequinology. It also provides an opportunity to show the development of the "Lyon Valley Northern": an HO railroad featuring CN and BNSF action in the West. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments at

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Concept Report

Lets start with the comments received from the blog and response.

Hi Chris:
Wow - sounds like quite the layout. You certainly have a vision for it!
Thanks for the description - it'll be much easier to track your
progress on your blog now.
Maybe you should post a note on the blog somewhere outlining your
concept and some of the other things you explained in your note to us?
- Trevor

From Michel....Thanks for your description of both your vision and operating plan. I must admit that I like to plan and see my concepts on paper before I lay track to plywood. You seem to be doing well and if your trial and error approach works for you so be it. Your progress is your statement. Like Trevor I would suggest that you add this reply to my question to your Blog. By the way you inspired me to get rid of my website ad go to a blog instead. I find that the website requires more maintenance which does not happen often and is more cumbersome to update. The blog would allow me to add week to week activity reports as you do.

My concept....Thanks for your comments Michel. I have not progressed to the point to have
a track diagram to publish. Believe it or not I developed my layout in conceptual layers versus a track plan. I started by building my space so that there was adequate isles and that all track work would be accessible so that turnouts could be all hand thrown. As I laid track my ideas changed as the reality took form. Not having a plan really made it possible to change
and keep building without being trapped with the old idea. Also I did not have to struggle to get it right on paper before I started. Really free lance every three feet:) In addition, I wanted to be able to view the same scenes from many angles and I could make it visibly pleasing as I went.
From an operational point of view, I decided I would not go with a linear concept where one goes from town to town lifting and dropping as you go.
Instead there would be three levels of operation. Continuous running, classification, industry delivery and pickup. It is an around the room layout with access on one leg from both sides. There is a middle island and a scenic wall divider in the middle.
Lets start with the classification as this really is the centre from which all action stems. In the main the inside main there is one arrival departure track with three classification tracks all... double ended. There is a yard lead at one end so the switcher can classify and
build or break trains without interfering with the inside main. The outside main has a passing siding with a run around track. There are crossovers between the inside and out side main. Now any time a train leaves the yard onto the main it must continuously run around the layout five times. If things get busy I have a visible staging yard just like in many prairie towns which consists of ladders off each main. Now for the industrial switching.
The concept is not new though rarely seen. It is industry based. It always starts with the loading or refinement of raw materials to next go to a factory and then from the factory to the warehouse for distribution. Empties must go back the other way. On my layout there are a number of these and they are facing in both directions. Also there are numerous equirements for run arounds. Example..Lumber is milled then goes to either a distribution facility or to a factory. The finished products go from the
factory to a distribution warehouse. Also there are chemicals delivered to these plants as they are needed for the processing (plastics, resins etc).
For grain it is collected in elevators in a prairie town. It then is delivered to a central elevator. It either then leaves for export or is delivered to a flour mill. Coal is simply mined and exported. Containers arrive or depart and what I have built is a transfer facility where trucks either pick up or drop off containers. Oil is simply delivered to a storage facility and distributed by truck. Cement aggregates arrive by rail and mixers get their product for distribution. I made some of the sidings long so there will be some shared sidings as new industrial links are created.
That is the long and short of it.
As far as the trains themselves. Some start from visible staging with northbound as odd numbers and south as evens. Container hotshots are 100s, mixed are 400s, ore trains are 700s and foreign thru are 900s. The locals that deliver and pickup the traffic are 500s. Others start from created
trains in staging as the traffic moves in and out. I plan to use a card system eventually. Hope this gives you an idea of what I plan to do.
The layout is modern era and is a fee lance design that connects BNSF with CN from Montana to Alberta.

The pictures you see today start by looking at the first four feet... the beginnings of my backdrop painting. The foothills are in and I still have to put distant mountains behind. This was done with two colours. Cadmium yellow and Mars black. I use the black to darken the shades and yellow to lighten. The reason you get green is that Mars black has a blue black base. Blue and yellow make green. By changing the mix and changing the amount of water you get the effect you want. The hills are dabbed, the forest trees are small upstrokes and the fields are horizontal long strokes. The second picture is my port coal mine. I am going to use the walthers gravel crusher as the basis for the structure and there will be an open pit with cliffs behind and to the left. The last photo is an overall view of the layout. On the back wall you can see the staging to the right the classification and an industrial area to the centre where the oil refinery is. In the distance on the right you can see the container transfer facility. Will keep you up to date as about 80% of the track work is done. If you would like more info on painting techniques I will do a seperate post.


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