The Shelf Layout

This page describes the current state of the layout.  Changes will be documented in individual blog entries, or in the “Real History” section.

The CH&FR is modeled in N scale as a shelf layout around the perimeter of a 10′ x 10′ room which also serves as a home office, TV room, and “grownup hideaway”.  The base elevation for the  shelf is 52″ from the floor, which places it near eye level for adult viewers, and safely above the desk, couch and TV.  The basic layout plan is an extended dogbone with a point-to-point mainline integrated.

The family computer is below the yard on the left, and will (eventually) provide DCC control of the layout via JMRI.  The couch is below the town along the top wall, and the TV is below the mine on the bottom wall.


CH&FR Layout Overview

CH&FR Layout Overview

For clarity, cardinal directions (N/S/E/W) refer to the “model world”, while “drawing” directions (top/bottom/left/right) refer to the drawing, of course.

The East end of the layout is the coal mine at the bottom of the drawing, while the West end is the chemical plant and small yard along the right-side wall.  Therefore, a viewer in the center of the room is always facing South regardless of which room wall he is facing.

The top and right walls model the fictional town of Frost River, while the actual Chestnut Hill is along the left and bottom walls.  The town of Chestnut Hill is not modeled.

On the right wall, we have the Western end of the mainline, including a small interchange siding with Norfolk Southern and a small passenger terminal that houses the Frost River Railroad Museum, owned by the Chestnut Hill Historical Preservation Society (CHiPS).  From the yard, the track crosses the Frost River and passes by the (TBD) Corporation Frost River Chemical Plant, one of the two major industries modeled.  The plant serves to hide the Eastern loop of the track and preserve the illusion of a point to point design.

The top wall models the town of Frost River, including several smaller businesses.  A second crossing of the Frost River brings us to the left wall, to the Chestnut Hill Yard, the home base of the CH&FR.  The yard is fully functional, including engine services, car repair, and MOW/wreck equipment storage.

East of the yard (along the bottom wall), the track crosses a removable section (across the closet door) to Chestnut Hill Mine Tipple #7.  The West end of Chestnut Hill hides the other return loop and provides a backdrop for the mine.

Grades and elevations are TBD, but the impression is that the mine is some considerable elevation above the town.

Area Details

The following sections describe each scenic area in detail.  The drawings are oriented the same as the overview drawing above.  However, I would like to describe the areas as though we were standing in the middle of the room looking at the layout.  Therefore, “right” and “left” may be reversed.  Just put yourself in the middle of the room and mentally look at the layout.

The Coal Mine

Chestnut Hill Mine

Chestnut Hill Mine

At the West end of the layout (bottom wall of the layout) is the Chestnut Hill Mine #7 Tipple.  This is a Walther’s New River Coal Mine (#933-3221) situated next to the West end of Chestnut Hill.  The mine tracks can handle up to 18 50′ hoppers.

Entering the scene from the right in front, the main line loops around the mine and tunnels through Chestnut Hill, returning along the back.  Officially, trains must cross back over to the front track in order to stay on the main.  The rear track becomes the CSX interchange siding for the yard as it rounds the corner into the yard section of the layout.

The single stub in front of the mine tipple provides offloading for mine supplies and parts, while the dual track stub at the front of the layout is for a TBD purpose.

The stub along the wall, mostly hidden inside the mountain is a staging track, with the opportunity to attach cassettes at the end of the layout.  We’ll see how that goes.

The Yard

Chestnut Hill Yard - West End

Chestnut Hill Yard - West End

(Note:  The East end of the yard can be seen in the Mine drawing above.)

Down the mountain and East of the mine is the Chestnut Hill Yard, the home base of the CH&FR Railroad.  The yard is fully functional, and provides the following services:

  • Interchange services with CSX
  • Switching for interchange, local, and other freight
  • Engine service, car repair, MOW, and wreck services

Working from back to front, the primary yard tracks (East end) are as follows:

  • Passing siding / CSX interchange siding
  • Main line
  • A/D track
  • Yard body (3 tracks)
  • RIP track

The two tracks parallel to the yard ladder serve as an engine thoroughfare (closest to ladder) and caboose track (farthest from ladder).

On the West end are all the auxiliary services, including the yard office, engine roundhouse, MOW and wreck services track, and car shop.

The yard lead extends around the back of the roundhouse and across the river.  It is long enough to serve any of the yard tracks.  I deliberately chose to make most of the yard body tracks single-ended to maximize storage and display space for my rolling stock.  The yard operator will just have to live with it.

Frost River (East end)

Frost River - East End

Frost River - East End

Leaving the yard Westbound, the main line splits, tunnels through the West end of Chestnut Hill, crosses the Frost River, and enters the town of Frost River.

In front of the layout is the Frost River Station.  Just behind that, and up the hill a bit are the freight terminal, feed mill, and some non-railroad businesses (in red).  Over by the river is the DPM Gripps Luggage model, which will likely be repurposed as some other business.

The tracks in the back are (or will be) at a higher elevation.  They will service several industries modeled as backdrop buildings hiding the staging track in back.  Note that the indoor sidings provide cover for exits from the staging track.  At least one of these buildings will model a rather unique real business named Carbonoks, a maker of emergency shelters for underground miners.

Frost River (West end)

Frost River - West End

Frost River - West End

Dominating the West end of Frost River is the chemical plant.  The company name and product are still TBD, but the plant will feature highly detailed tanker loading/unloading for up to 8 cars, plus what I hope will be an impressive pipe farm.  The plant also hides the return loop on the West end.  (Note: it’s not technically a return loop, since it doesn’t reconnect to itself…).  There’s a problem with the benchwork right at the inside corner where the street comes down.  That will have to be adjusted in order to get enough room for the track to clear the corner.  I also need to adjust the tank service tracks to move them closer to the front.

Also on the west end of town are a granary (the Walther’s ADM kit, probably re-branded as Southern States or a local business) and several non-railroad businesses.

The Museum

Frost River Railroad Museum

Frost River Railroad Museum

West of the plant, the main line crosses the Frost River again and enters a small yard.  This yard provides an interchange with Norfolk Southern, and also is the site of the Frost River Railroad Museum.  The museum is an old, converted passenger station, and still provides passenger services when needed.The track along the wall provides the interchange, while the pair of tracks to the front edge are display tracks for museum pieces.

Thus concludes the high-level tour of the layout.  Much detail remains to be added, and much of the story remains to be written.

I will be adding separate pages for each scenic area to provide additional detail information and, eventually, photos of the layout as it is constructed.  So check back every so often!



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