Early Trackplans – 2

A couple of blog posts ago, I shared vintage personal trackplans that were discovered when clearing old files. I had drawn these in the late 1970s during my high school years. Shortly after the post appeared, I found a thin notebook with a few versions of the last layout plan featured on that post. In addition to the trackplans, there were numerous small structure drawings such as the one that leads this post. I had completely forgotten about these details.

This sketch illustrates ideas for one end of the layout. Several small industry footprints are noted on the sketch as I planned the layout. These sketches were scanned much larger than the original size.

These industrial structures were planned for the footprints in the layout space noted above. In reviewing these forty years later, I think I had some difficulties with spatial relationships. Two or three structures would fit the space but probably not all of them.

This is the line schematic for that layout. Part was the narrow gauge Tide & Western while the rest was the standard gauge Indiana County Short Line. This may have been drawn in planning for a control panel. I did not realize I drew track schematics back then.

Today, I draw track schematics from prototype maps and documents as an early layout design step. These straight line drawings help me understand rail elements for a layout design without the curves or features of local topography.

The drawing above is just a portion of a larger schematic drawn recently. It is part of the planning efforts for my next layout. ICC valuation maps of the line were used to create much of the new drawing. These historic plat maps were also helpful to locate streets, bridges, and structures.

St Louis RPM

I attended the recent St Louis RPM and had a great time. It was a different mix from most RPM events with a relaxed atmosphere. I likened it to summer camp experience, where many RPM events have more of an academic conference feel. I like both but St Louis was a breezy was to recharge my hobby energy. Here’s a gallery of images I snapped at the meet.

Additional thoughts on the St Louis RPM can be found on the Resin Car Works blog.

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4 thoughts on “Early Trackplans – 2”

  1. Interesting drawings.

    I have followed your blob for several years and on MRH. I could not go to the RPM this year due to family health problems. Ironically, I was in St Louis at the time (wife in hospital). I would liked to have met you.


    1. Jim, thanks for your comment. I hope your wife is mending well. Maybe we will meet in Chicago this fall. – Eric

  2. Eric:

    What is the story with this ARCGIS website? It looks like a pay service. Do they have historical maps for other cities? Finding valuation maps and plats for West Virginia has been more challenging than I originally thought it would be.
    – Nevin

    1. I think the ARCGIS site shows samples of the work they can do. I really love the plat map composites of Pittsburgh and Cleveland as they show an extraordinary amount of history for those cities. Toronto is also featured but that is it. I’ve found similar plat maps for Akron, Oh, and Philadelphia, PA, among the digital presentations of the libraries in those cities. Plat maps seem to be more common for larger cities. They documented property ownership for tax purposes as well as infrastructure.

      Valuation and plat maps are two different things created for different agencies. The railroad valuation maps were created by the ICC by a Congressional directive. Many of those can be found in the Library of Congress Archives II facility. It is helpful to have the valuation numbers for the specific maps you need to review. In addition to these maps, the railroad infrastructures were inventoried and assessed. In another part of Archives II, the Valuation notes can be found. Many photos, field notes, and even dimensioned sketches of structures can be reviewed in these notes. These are also keyed to the valuation numbers.

      Knowing where to look for the details is half of the challenge. – Eric

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