Jump to content
JNS Forum
Pashina12

Planning Aizu

Recommended Posts

velotrain

Since you sound like you want to tackle this bridge before designing a layout, let me suggest that you plan this scene as a standalone diorama. The main reason being that it will be difficult to interface this high track level with the rest of the layout, to such an extent that you might consider dropping this scene below the rest of the benchwork, vs. the amount of space necessary to raise the other track to this elevation. I realize you plan to model a mountainous region, but even with say 5% grades it would take a whole lot of real estate to get benchtop track up to this level.

 

By building this as a diorama, you could use it for photo shoots and then decide later just where and how you will plug it into the layout. The other challenge will be deciding just what to model to present the impression that you want, without the scene ending up being some 4' deep. You might build the bridge and then use cardboard mock-ups to determine just how much of the proto scene you want to/can incorporate.

 

I will also endorse the Central Valley bridge kits and the separate component packages as scratchbuilding sources, both for bridges and other structures.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
kvp

Imho the dmu photo shows one end pretty clearly. The stone is cut to shape, then concete was poured according to the shapes on your plan (actually slightly sunk into the rock), then the end plates were installed that the whole bridge rests on. I think that's all and you have the original drawing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

@velotrain - I'm not planning to build a traditional fixed layout with benchwork and all that, rather I'm taking a modular approach to it like Free-Mo or such, so as to make it possible to start out with something small and then extend it over time as desired. Getting the track heights to match will of course still be an issue, but nothing I don't think a bit of math can't solve.

 

Something I'll need to decide soonish is the point you mention about depth of the scene - do I want to go all the way down to the surface of the river? Something that occurred to me was the idea of building the two ends/cliff faces as separate modules, and have the bridge be removable, with long bars at the piers/mount points to hold everything together when assembling the modules for running. I'll need to do some thinking/mocking-up to figure this out.

 

@kvp - yes, you're right about that one end, and I'll go with that approach for both ends. The central pier though I have no idea about, whether it has angled or rounded corners etc. I'll figure something out!

Share this post


Link to post
velotrain

A bunch of thoughts.

 

I'm surprised to hear you say that you might not go all the way down to the surface of the river. I would have thought that the river and gorge were essential components of why you wanted to build this in the first place - certainly if you want a "pretty spectacular model".

 

I guess I'd say that you need to consider just what about this scene inspired you to want to model it to begin with. For me it would generate a sense of being "chopped off" if it doesn't go down to water level, and that would be true even without having seen the photo. Try covering up the bottom third of the photo and see if it has the same appeal for you. hmmm . . I just tried it and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. OTOH, I think even just the shoreline is necessary to help justify those steep cliffs?

 

As far as depth of scene, if you're willing to generally consider Fremo (at least Euro-style), the interfaces are fixed - but there's no mandated module depth, so you could make this deeper (say up to 30" at the middle - if needed) than the others. Another suggestion - have the river curve towards the front edge of the module at both ends. I don't know if you would want to actually have it curve "off" this module or not (maybe depending on length), but my feeling is that the sooner you remove it from the scene, the more freedom you'll have on the adjoining modules. This would also provide greater flexibility in how you position this module height-wise, as the river won't dictate the surrounding (modules) scene. Since the track is towards the back, you could curve (bulge) the fascia out in the middle where the smaller river joins, and bring it back to your "standard" module depth at the ends.

 

I also don't understand why you'd consider building it as two modules. Based on your calculations on the stringers, the rail bridge won't be much over a foot long, and even three feet is a good length for a module, with maybe 4' a reasonable maximum for future portability. A large part of my lack of enthusiasm here is scenery based. Water is generally hard to do well (and I'll assume that you would want to ;-), so having a module joint in the middle of a river gorge would be a scene killer.

 

I don't know what you may have built in the past, and I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you've set yourself one potentially huge project here - likely spanning a decade or more of effort. If you're certain that this is what you want to do, then go for it. However, large and long-term projects like this can be draining, and I suspect a high percentage never reach completion.

 

You don't need to start with the end points, but in the spirit of the "expandable layout" concept that Carlos mentioned a few days ago, I'd suggest beginning with a pair of modules that provide you with the greatest operating potential, so there is the least chance of you getting distracted. Or, perhaps one yard/town module and a generic, unscenicked staging/fiddle module. A primary problem with large layouts is that so much time and effort is required before you can start to run trains, some guys get frustrated / disappointed and abandon them rather early in the game - or operate them as a "plywood central" for many years, perhaps never getting around to scenery.

 

By providing yourself at least a base for limited operation early in the game, there's a much better chance of maintaining your interest in this project over the long haul. Along those lines, I can tell that you're hot to start on the bridge module right away, but I'd suggest making that a "separate" long-term project (as it should be to get it right), and first build something that you can at least do some switching on - being the freight car guy that you are.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

Well, it was the bridge itself that first grabbed my attention, or perhaps better put, the visual effect of the railway bridge and the arch road bridge beside it, but you do make a great point about the river and gorge being essential components. I suppose this is one of those things where even if I only notice a certain element of a scene, the other elements play just as important a role (if not more so) in *making* the scene, as the object of interest itself. The more I think about it in this light, the more I feel certain that yeah, I have to go down to the river surface.

Based on the diagram I linked in the previous post, I made this quick sketch.

post-7682-0-48736700-1490119208_thumb.png

The orange vertical lines there are 12.8 m or basically 42' long, so from the top of the rail to the top of the river at maximum depth is roughly 19.2 m or 63', which taken in scale is 128 mm or just over 5". Most of the pictures I've seen the water level is much lower, around where the lower blue line on my sketch is. Estimating based on the outline of the gorge/riverbed on the diagram, which is in brown on my sketch, I'd say top of the rail to the river surface when the water is low is about 27 m or a bit over 88' 6", which in scale works out to 180 mm or just over 7" - which is somewhat surprising to me, as it seems *much* deeper on the photos (perhaps due to the shape of the arch of the road bridge?), but in any case is certainly a manageable depth even allowing for the addition of hilliness at the right side of the module.

To your suggestion about making the river curve towards the front edge, here's this screen cap from Wikimapia:

 

post-7682-0-04644600-1490119254_thumb.png

The pink box is very roughly 3' 6" x 1' 6", measured off the length of the railway bridge (at the right) and assuming that to be about a foot in length. So, kinda the actual scene itself does exactly what you suggest. There are some great (if small) photos around online that show the... not dam, but I don't know what one would call that artificial waterfall; whatever it's called, it does make for an important element of the scene so I'd likely move that pink box towards the left about 3", to get the rather imposing concrete retaining wall at the end of the "dam" and a little bit of the waterfall itself.

Your other points are also very good, and at least the point about something to switch on whilst working on the bridge scene had occurred to me. Perhaps a way to alleviate that would be to get some Unitrack so that when I feel like running, can set up various switching puzzles to solve, different one every time. And I do also want to make a sorta "disposable" module, on which to experiment with scenicking techniques, as well as a more permanent other module I can switch on; my initial idea for that was Aizu-Takinohara, the terminus, but I'm also now giving a little bit of thought to Nishi-Wakamatsu, the junction with the Tadami Line, which I'd earlier contemplated just as a partial representation of the station/staging area sort of thing... that could very well fit your suggestion there.

There are, however, some other factors which haven't been mentioned, but are very important. Due to Life Reasons my housing situation at the moment is rather temporary until I move into a more permanent place again, which could be as soon as May but possibly as late as the beginning of August (again Factors I don't really want to get into)... basically, that means that it'll probably be in the autumn that I can start to work on anything "big" and not have to put stuff away after every time I work on it. The bridge itself, though, is something I think I can easily pull out, work a bit on, and put away again after an evening's work. Other things I can do/plan to do whilst I'm in this temporary situation are things like basic work with rolling stock like replacing wheelsets and couplers (thinking Micro-Trains Z scale couplers, but my friend on Sunday mentioned MT has a new N scale coupler that's more to actual scale, which I'll also check out; as for wheels, I'm going to use Fox Valley wheelsets on the unpowered stock, and said friend will turn down the wheels on my powered stock so that I can use code 55 track... I did briefly entertain the idea of going Proto:160 too, but discarded that idea - I love the look of it, but it's way more work than I want to put into track; I'm content enough with having reliable track that looks reasonable, and spending the time and effort that that saves (versus building everything to P:160 standards) on actually building scenes.

Anyways the tl;dr of all that is that what I'm able to get into doing over the next several months is pretty severely limited, but I have to do *something* during that time - working on a structure or two, getting some rolling stock work done, and planning modules are about the extend of the things I can think of that I can successfully accomplish in my current lodgings, and then once I'm in my new long-term dwelling I can start thinking about the rest.
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
kvp

Three remarks:

-this type of dam is called a weir and is used to slow down a river to reduce erosion

-code 55 N scale tracks (like peco code 55 used on fremo N modules) don't need special wheels and most modern N scale japanese trains will run fine on them (only code 40 is too shallow for most off the shelf wheels)

-the height only looks large compared to the bridge, but the bridge isn't large either

Edited by kvp

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

Regarding the wheels that's good to know - doing the locomotives will be a bit more problematic though freight cars will be super easy, but this would make changing wheels less of a priority. But it does make a world of difference in appearance, especially on tank cars or elsewhere where the wheels are in easier view.

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

Over the past couple days I started doing some sketching - not yet sketching module plans yet, rather sketching out the actual line as it was, to get a better feel for it - at least, the Kamimiyori - Kuwabara - Yunokami section, which includes the Kuragawa Bridge I was discussing previously, as well as the #1, #2 and #3 Ogawa bridges. To make these sketches, I relied on current satellite photos of the area, and an aerial photo from 1976 that covers the area from just past Funako (between the Kuragawa Bridge and Kuwabara) all the way to just past #3 Ogawa Bridge, right before getting into Yunokami - basically, a pretty spectacular find.

 

1. Overview of Kamimiyori to Kuwabara:

post-7682-0-53545900-1490389111_thumb.png

 

The bridge there is the Kuragawa Bridge, which is followed by a long 2.5% grade up into Funako, then through several tunnels and out into Kuwabara.

 

2. Kuwabara to Yunokami:

post-7682-0-10868000-1490389392_thumb.png

 

From Kuwabara it goes right onto the 1st Ogawa Bridge (which is another fantastic scene!), and there's a very short tunnel right after the end of the bridge. By the tunnel by the village marked on the sketch I *think* is where a rather oft-photographed scene was located, with the track coming out of a tunnel right onto a "half bridge" right up against the cliff face. And then there's the tunnel-bridge-tunnel-bridge-tunnel sequence of the 2nd and 3rd Ogawa Bridges as the line approaches Yunokami.

 

Although I could just have looked at the aerial photo, sketching it all out did help to give me a better feel for this section of the line (and it's a lot easier to make notes on the paper than on the computer screen).

 

Then I started working on some sketches to figure out the track arrangement and the immediate vicinity of Kamimiyori and Kuwabara stations, using various photographs I found online. I also made use of current sat photos for Kamimiyori, but since Kuwabara is now underwater, that wasn't an option there.

 

post-7682-0-03723600-1490389829_thumb.png

 

The pink lines indicate lines that aren't there today - the one starting at the right side of the sketch (line continuing to Monden) was definitely there and I've found photos to attest to its existence; what I haven't yet been able to determine is how long it was and what its purpose was. As that area seems to be pretty well surrounded by agricultural fields, I'm thinking to use a bit of modeller's licence there and have some loading facility for agricultural produce. The two pink lines at the left side I'm inferring based on the sat images - if you've looked at sat photos before, you know there are often hints of long-gone rail lines. The innermost one I'm quite confident about; the outer one I'm not entirely sure about, but some modeller's licence might end up being applied there, too.

 

post-7682-0-47546700-1490390183_thumb.png

 

This was sketched up entirely based on photographs. The siding I'm not 100% on - it *was* there, that's doubtless, and I'm pretty sure I've got its layout pretty much right, what I'm not sure is when it was removed - it's gone even in some of the steam-era photos. So gone by 1974 for sure, but no real idea how long before. It's fairly overgrown by 1974, but stuff grows quickly, so it could be as recent as 1972 that it was removed. Also, the curvature of the line/station area is a bit exaggerated, but then these are just sketches, not scale drawings.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Kiha66

Wow, great drawings Pashina!  It really gives me a better feeling of the line and how it might be modeled, and a lot clear-er than some blurry satellite pictures or old photographs. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

Thanks! That was exactly my intention. Over the next few days I'm hoping to get Yunokami sketched out as well, and then I want to do more of those "cross section" sketches at the points of interest, and see about trying to get the sketches of Kamimiyori and Kuwabara a bit more accurate.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

I found a couple photos of old portable conveyor belts similar to ones I've seen in Lynden, Washington. These gave me an idea: since Kamimiyori station is basically surrounded by agricultural fields, it occurred to me that the track that's now gone that I don't know the purpose of, I could put a couple of these conveyors there and use that track for loading produce? Things to consider...

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

I just got to thinking about the arrangement of potential modules, in the sense of which "side" the interesting features are. With the Kurogawa bridge we were discussing earlier, the nice view with the road bridge and the weir is on the left side of the module. The interest stays on the left side as far as Kuwabara and the 1st Ogawa bridge, but then after that, the tunnels and 2nd Ogawa bridge are on the right side; the 3rd Ogawa bridge and Yunokami are good from either side.

 

I've been thinking about how this could be arranged reasonably, but I'm not sure what would be the best way. Would love to hear ideas/suggestions/thoughts.

Share this post


Link to post
velotrain

I'm not sure how left and right are going to affect anything - except possibly the focus point of the adjoining module.

 

The more common question is if the best view / orientation is from the front or the back - however you wish to assign these.

 

Since you're modeling a specific line, I'd think you would want to have all modules oriented in correct sequence.

 

While the track is customarily closer to the front - for viewing and access, this isn't necessarily always best.

 

There certainly is a strong argument for having the higher parts of the scene in the rear, although personally I sometimes like to have the rail line partially obscured, so the observer needs to find the best viewing position. i.e. you need to peer around hills or buildings. Relating to a prior post, so the train is running through a landscape and isn't always silhouetted against it.

 

You're kind of in a tough place, as ideally this would be built as a sectional layout, so each element could be the most true to prototype - which is obviously a high priority for you. However, since these will be built sequentially and you want to run trains as you go, that suggests modules with a shared edge track location. There's also the possibility that you may change the specific modules you want to build, or the number of modules, as you go along. Determination of the approach is just one of the decisions to be made before you start cutting wood.

 

I just had a somewhat crazy thought if you want to do sections with varying edge track locations. If you could standardize at maybe three track locations ("front, middle, rear"), you could build a set of temporary "filler" modules whose sole purpose would be to realign the main line between modules as you build and operate them. This would likely be track only, although you could add as much scenery as you may wish - accepting that these would be temporary. There may be other possible solutions to this, if you don't go modular - in the strict sense.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

I'm not sure "left" and "right" was a very clear way of phrasing it; "front" and "back" would work just as well, except it's the deciding what is "front" and what is "back" that I'm finding a challenge here.

 

Here's more Wikimapia captures:

 

post-7682-0-11511600-1490715916_thumb.png

post-7682-0-52406400-1490715937_thumb.png

post-7682-0-06808400-1490716514_thumb.png

 

By "left" and "right" I was referring to how it's all arranged on these sat views. The middle section, the Ogawa bridges and the tunnels, is basically arranged all such that the right side would have to be the front, because mountain wall on the left side, which I think even modularly would be annoying, having to look "downhill", and then missing half of the scene? Looking at it like this for a "second" time, though, I think the 3rd Ogawa bridge/Yunokami and Kuragawa bridge/Kamimiyori ends are both kinda "either side works" scenes (though the Kuragawa bridge scene *is* most interesting from the left side, where the river confluence and weir and road bridge all are).

 

I wonder if there's a way to balance viewability from either side with maintaining the visual effect of the scenes of the section between 1st and 3rd bridge. I'm not sure of this.

 

I *really* like your idea of temporary filler sections! I'll definitely be keeping that in mind as I go along.

Share this post


Link to post
velotrain

One possibility is making very small scale "non-drying clay" 3D models of each planned module, and examine the possible views from those. This could also help you decide which modules you really want. I have another 3D design technique that I'll send to you as a PM.

 

I gather these modules won't have legs, which means a high viewing angle, so that could be a factor. Although, guys will often hunker down to track level to watch a train go by. Some folks prefer a 48-54" module height for more "realistic" viewing / operating.

 

Fremo modules are meant to be viewed from both sides, but I don't believe this is true for any other system, although my take is that Fremo is largely designed for the operators, while all other systems are designed with viewers in mind.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
kvp

There are many tricks for left and right side prototype scenes:

-for multilevel layouts separated by (usually hidden) spirals, each level is viewed from the other side than the previous one

-the same effects could be done by island and loop style layouts, folding the scene 180 degrees at each end

-it's possible to mirror a scene without distorting it, putting everyting on the preferred side, but otherwise building roads and signals correctly

-it's also possible to rotate the scene without mirroring by turning it 180 degrees horizontally and this only mixes up the scene transitions

 

About viewing height: Imho for an exhibiton layout that is both operated and viewed standing up, the high legs are ok, but for a home layout the best height is one where the operator could sit down, This puts the layout slightly above desk height, with the controls and any hidden staging at desk height. Ttrak follows the same rule for exhibiton layouts as its usual table height is both child friendly and could be operated by sitting down, which could be very important for less fit modellers.

 

Viewing sides: it's completly up to the modeller how to build a module. Both fremo and ttrak could be designed to be viewed from both sides and there are lots of island style layout parts that are meant to be viewed from all sides or at least from 270 degrees.

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Height is also a handicap issue for public displays. We have had numerous people thank us with folks in wheelchairs that the layout is viewable as even ntrak is hard to view well from a wheel chair height.

 

Btw we always offer to pull barriers aside and let wheelchairs get right up to the layout and it's really, really appreciated by folks even if they don't take us up on it.

 

Jeff

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

I like that idea of small clay models of the modules. I'll see about picking some of that non-drying clay up at the weekend.

 

I'd like to try to find an ideal balance between what's ideal for the viewer and what's ideal for the operator. Both-side viewing would be the ultimate ideal, but I think that for some of the scenes (primarily the section between #1 and #2 bridge) don't really lend themselves to that... though I suppose one could always go look from the other side.

 

You're right, I'm envisioning these modules without legs. For home use, though, I've got a bunch of those wall-mounted shelving brackets that I could mount at any desired height, and when taken out to shows or such, can be put together on table tops so that it's at a better level for kids and people in wheelchairs (people who are fit can bend over if they want to look closer). Basically I'm looking at adapting the system used by the local TT scalers, who use a system that I think was derived from T-Trak.

 

 

KVP's comments and Charles' previous suggestion of adapter modules just gave me a thought about possible such adapters to "bend" the line, maybe there's a way to arrange it all... those module-models I think will help with working this out.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
velotrain

- I really can't tell what the last three are, but I'm guessing they're ToRa with cages - 90000s, at a guess, but I'm really uncertain... something about them seems wrong somehow.

Indeed - these cars appear to have a full body cage, while on the 90000's the cage is only on the top half, and the mesh looks different. I tried looking for them, but with no success.

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Pashina,

 

Space filling models are great. one simple way is to just mock it up with corrugated cardboard and then wad up news paper and tape it down with masking tape. super quick way to rough out scenery ideas and even hack up some boxes for structures etc. hey it works for gehery! you can do it at 1:1 scale easily and it actually helps get the real feel which can be tricky with scale models of scale models!

 

hot glue gun is your friend also!

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
velotrain

The only issue I have on this front is that *none* of the photos I've found give me any clue of how the pier or the end piers (abutments?) look, because they're so overgrown with vegetation!

How about basing the piers on those used for the Ōgawa bridges, as they were all (likely) built at or around the same time. The basic truss structure of the main span is quite similar, although the web members are not all identical in length as on the Ōgawa bridges. The plan shows a rather conspicuous foot at the central pier, so you might consider HO castings for those. Several manufacturers offer these, although I don't see Central Valley among them.

 

I don't know about Japanese concrete casting techniques, but at least here in the US a mold was built up of individual wooden boards, and you can usually see the edges of the boards in the concrete - if not occasional actual grain. I believe I see casting rings on the third bridge, although these piers appear to be oval, so I don't know what to make of that. In modeling terms, you could cast plaster piers in stripwood molds and get a similar effect - which would look much more convincing than smooth-faced styrene.

Edited by velotrain

Share this post


Link to post
kvp

Some concrete piers and buffers from Kato and Tomix also have casting marks molded into them. Sometimes instead of wood, iron plates are used, especially for curved parts.

Share this post


Link to post
Pashina12

Just a quick reply right now before bed, this day's drained me...

 

How about basing the piers on those used for the Ōgawa bridges, as they were all (likely) built at or around the same time. The basic truss structure of the main span is quite similar, although the web members are not all identical in length as on the Ōgawa bridges. The plan shows a rather conspicuous foot at the central pier, so you might consider HO castings for those. Several manufacturers offer these, although I don't see Central Valley among them.

 

I just quickly looked at the build dates of the bridges, and you're right! The Kuragawa, #1, #2 and #3 Ōgawa bridges, and the Onogawa bridge (between #3 Ōgawa bridge and Yunokami station) were all built in 1932, so I think your idea is a safe way to approach this. For recordkeeping's sake, #4, #5 and #6 Ōgawa bridges, the Kadotanigawa bridge (between Aizu-Ochiai and Aizu-Nagano stations), and the Mizunashigawa bridge (between Tabehara and Aizu-Tajima stations) were built in 1934, and the Sannogawa bridge (between Aizu-Takinohara and Itozawa) was built in 1953.

 

I had to giggle a bit at the Mizunashigawa name (水無川), since it means "waterless river". I know that's not an uncommon concept, but it amused me almost as much as the うおづ!!橋がない!! I saw in the blog post of the guy who explored the tunnels along the abandoned section of the line...

 

Indeed - these cars appear to have a full body cage, while on the 90000's the cage is only on the top half, and the mesh looks different. I tried looking for them, but with no success.

 

Well, good to know at least that I wasn't tripping. I wonder if those could perhaps be some Chi of some sort, with a sort of home-brew cage built up to alleviate a shortage of ToRa90000s? Hopefully someday I'll be able to find a few more photos of cars like those, I think they could be interesting to model.

Share this post


Link to post
velotrain

Speaking of wood chip cars, I ran across this site, which should appeal to your statistical side ;-)

 

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://butsuryu.web.fc2.com/chip.html&prev=search

 

About halfway down, there is a very grainy image that may show a train of all-cage cars (Kuji Chi Chi Center)?

The adjacent photo shows some sort of hybrid type of chip car - that I haven't previously seen, being unloaded.

 

Also, at the bottom there are a couple of action photos of a 90000 being unloaded on a rotary tipper.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×