Track Plan At A Glance
Layout Theme: Permanent Layout
Layout Type: Modern Mainline Railroad
Scale: HO Scale
Track: Code 83
Turnouts: No. 6
Min. Radius (Mainline): 30"
Article by: Jim Spavins
Published: December 20, 2016
A few months back, I created a trackplan for one of the reader's of this site for a generic midwestern town in Indiana featuring Conrail in the 1990s. After a few more email exchanges, a new space and prototype was requested - try and fit CSX's Indianapolis Subdivision in a 21'x21' space.
The Indianapolis Subdivision connects Indianapolis, IN, and Cincinnati, OH, and is operated today by CSX. The traffic pattern is fairly light with a handful of through freights, a pair of locals, and a daily Amtrak train - the Cardinal - traversing the line. On the layout, a portion of the railroad is modeled - generally the section between Morristown, IN, and Liberty, IN, where most of the activity of the daily locals take place. A number of midwestern industries - like grain elevators, a biofuel producer are served by the railroad in this area and provide the traffic. The scenery along the right of way is fairly rural with lots of farm fields and tree lines with the occasional river crossing.
Around the Railroad
The layout designed at the beginning of the article is set in a 21'x21' garage space with a single door and no windows. As one enters the layout room, Liberty Yard - a visible staging yard representing Cincinnati and points south is on the right. Heading out of the yard, the mainline swings around to Liberty Interlocking. This at-grade crossing is mostly for show - but provides a continuous run connection back to the staging yard set under the visible portion of the railroad. From Liberty Interlocking, the mainline swings around the peninsula through some fields and over the East Fork Whitewater River and then over the Whitewater River before entering Connersville.
Connersville, IN, has a small yard along with a grain elevator (not modeled - in the aisle), scrap yard, and train station. A hint of the residential area west of the station in modeled along the backdrop here as well. Heading west out of Connersville, the mainline swings around once again into Morristown, IN. Here two large industries are modeled - a grain elevator and a bio fuel facility which can provide lots of traffic for the locals to switch. Heading out of Morristown, the mainline swings under a highway overpass and down to the hidden staging yard.
The lower deck of the layout and the three track staging yard. | Trackplan by Jim Spavins.
Operating the Railroad
There are several operating modes for the railroad. When visitors are around, a continuous run loop is available to just let trains run. For more formal operating sessions, the layout is setup to have trains originate and terminate in the hidden staging (representing Indianapolis) and the visible staging (representing Cincinnati). The general pattern would follow the prototype with a handful of through freight trains running in each direction between the two yards. A pair of locals - one originating in Connersville and the other in Liberty Yard would each work in the opposite directions switching various industries along the way. Amtrak's Cardinal would make the trip around the layout as well making a station stop in Connersville during it's appearance on the railroad.
Indianapolis Subdivision on Wikipedia >
CSX Indianapolis Subdivision Photos >
CSX Rail Action on the Indianapolis Subdivision on YouTube >
Trains Around Connersville, IN on YouTube >
Railfanning CSX's Indiana Subdivision (Drone Video) >
For Track Plan Tuesday's, I am digitizing all of my old track planning notebooks and sharing the designs here on the website. To see all the plans, visit the track plan home page at: jimspavins.com/jimstrackplans.