As I was reading through my last post after publishing it, I realized that some may get the impression that I was going to run the railroad with about 70 railcars and a whole lot of engines. And cabooses.
The home road lettered cars that I talked about, the coal hoppers and boxcars, would be in addition to the other cars that I have lettered for other railroads. These would be the other railroads that operate in the upper Midwest and northwest that would interchange with the Continental Northern. Examples would be the Northern Pacific, the Great Northern, the Union Pacific, Soo line … you get the idea.
The number of home road cars that will eventually be on the layout has yet to be determined. Right now I have 30 hoppers lettered for the CN, but I know that I will need another 15 for basic operation. The 20 boxcars that I had mentioned is just a start. I have to get every thing out on the layout to see what I have. From there I will make sure the percentage of home road cars to “foreign” cars is right.
For those who don’t know, when a shipper sends something in a boxcar, for example, and the car is interchanged onto another railroad, the receiving railroad has to pay the home road for the time that the boxcar is on their line. The receiving railroad would then make sure that the car got to its destination as quickly as possible, was unloaded and sent on its merry way. Either back to its home road or loaded with something new and shipped of to a destination on some other railroad. That is why the greatest percentage of a type of car will always belong to the home road on a layout. And that is why I have to see what I have and then adjust so that I have the appearance of a reasonable percentage of cars.
There are those out there with enough experience that probably understood this from the beginning, but it was bugging me and I felt that a clarification was in order. OK, clarified. I hope.
Below are a couple of pictures: the first is of a 2-8-2 Mikado with a string of hoppers.( sorry about the fuzziness, still working on depth of field) The second is of a pair of SD-7’s, one lettered for the CN and the other for the old road.
I have tried to keep the Locomotive and rolling stock roster for the Continental Northern as appropriate as possible. When dealing with a freelance railroad the trend is sometimes “anything goes”. The bulk of the motive power is 2-8-0’s and 2-8-2 Mikado’s. These wheel arrangements would handle the Midwest flatlands relatively well. The lighter engines are supplemented with 4-8-4 Northerns and 4-8-2 Mountains, as they had to handle the mountainous regions out west. Add in several compounds because: A. other roads used them to get through the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest and B: they are really cool. There are also several GP and SD-7’s as dieselization shows up even on this subdivision.
The thought process is as follows: as the Continental Northern dieselizes, the newer power ( diesels ) are used out west where the lack of needed maintenance and frequent refueling ( water and coal ) are better suited to diesels. The older steam engines are moved to the eastern divisions, where there are shorter runs between towns and maintenance facilities.
The main reason I backdated the layout to 1954 was that inexpensive, high quality steam locomotives became available. Bachmann (bachmanntrains.com) and Athearn (athearn.com) led the way followed by Broadway Limited (broadway-limited.com) with their DCC/ sound equipped locomotives. The hardest thing to give up was the diverse rolling stock of the more modern era’s. It seems as if each commodity has it’s own type of railcar. When I first switched I figured there would be a whole lot of boxcars and not much else. At least I would be able to cabooses on the trains, oh well.
Once I started to research the era more I realized that, yes there would be a whole lot of boxcars, there were a lot more types of cars in use. So yes, there will be boxcars, as well as hoppers for hauling coal, flatcars, tank cars, gondolas and short covered hoppers, which were starting to show up for some commodities. And cabooses.
I have the bulk of the hoppers for coal, I bought data only hoppers from Walthers (walthers.com). I still need to get another set. These are lettered for the Continental Northern. I have looking at picking up about twenty data only boxcars from Accurail (accurail.com), however they have been out of stock. I hope they will do another run soon. These will also be lettered for the Continental Northern. I have been lettering the cars with custom decals from Rail Graphics (railgraphicsdecals.com), I would highly recommend them.
There won’t be any “name” trains running on the railroad, as the run from the Twin Cities to Duluth is only about 120 miles. There will be daily passenger runs, but the trains will be mainly coaches. These will be mostly older, heavyweight cars.