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New Ulm, MN

 
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allegheny1600



Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 77
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:31 am    Post subject: New Ulm, MN Reply with quote

Welcome to my little slice of America!
I’ve modelled the Chicago & North-Western railroad way on and off since the early 1990’s. When I say “modelled”, I guess I should really say collected stuff for this line! Although when one builds rolling stock, does detailing, renumbering, weathering as one collects - that is modelling, of course!
Anyway, I never got around to building a layout to run my models on, just ran them on either my own test tracks or on other peoples layouts. Not terribly satisfying but there we were. I even went down various other paths, sometimes for years at a time but no matter what happened with other things, I always stuck with the C&NW.
A few weeks ago, I spotted on a UK forum that a fellow US outline modeller, Dan Spalding, was selling his layout called “Galatia, KS” and I liked this layout anyway so I jumped at the chance to get hold of a ready made US style layout.
Negotiations took place and I arranged to travel down to the Princes Risborough (Buckinghamshire) show where Dan was exhibiting Galatia for the last time. I had a very enjoyable session learning how to operate the layout ‘properly’ (with car cards and ‘spots’) then Dan and his colleague kindly showed me how to disassemble the layout, we loaded it into my car and away we went.
I then had to spend quite some time reorganising my ‘big shed’ as my half (it’s shared with my better half!) had gotten untidy with too many half finished projects on the go, woodworking jobs, household items needing repair and so forth. At this time, I was also suffering a mysterious fatigue that would cause me very low energy levels so this was slow going. In fact, I had only just managed to loosely erect the baseboards and connect them together when it was time for a holiday.
Two weeks later, nicely refreshed (thanks Greece!) and once I had caught up with work again, I could start getting “New Ulm” ready for operations.
So, why New Ulm and where is it?
Well, one of my ‘distractions’ had been modelling and researching the railways of Bavaria and one of my discoveries was that they once served the town of “Neu Ulm” - this sparked something in my memory and I was able to find out that a number of German settlers from Neu Ulm had settled in Minnesota and gave their town the Americanised version of this name. What’s more, they had brought some of their skills with them and they had set up a brewery here too. At one point I had the idea of doing Neu Ulm (Germany) and New Ulm (America) as similar layouts, that fell by the wayside but the name has stuck.
This part of Minnesota has rolling hills and the town of New Ulm is in a hollow so locomotives have to work quite hard to get out of town. This must have been a heck of a sight and sound in the period from the late 1960’s through to the early 1980’s as the line New Ulm is situated on was called “The Alco Line” (from Winona, MN to Rapid City, SD) due to it being a line that the C&NW concentrated most of their Alco locomotives on.
Alco’s are well known in US outline circles as being very noisy and claggy machines as well as being amazingly rugged and long lasting! Unfortunately Alco shut down in 1969 so to find there locos still running on a ‘class 1’ railroad in the early eighties was quite something, hence the line drew quite a following.
Unfortunately for me, my collection of Alco’s is quite limited so for the moment, I am forced to operate with EMD’s which pushes the time frame forward to the mid 1980’s onwards - sadly, only until 1995 as the C&NW ceased to be after that time. The line itself is still running however under the ownership of the “Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern” railroad (DM&E). I believe they even still run some ex C&NW locos, now in the smart blue and yellow livery.
However, back to the layout.
It is all DCC as I am an electrical numpty and I don’t ‘do’ wiring, my vision goes haywire when I see more than one pair of wires! Under this layout is a little bit more than one pair of wires so I’ve had to take my time and trace things out. Fortunately Dan laid everything out very logically and marked up what goes where. I’ve had to do some minor swapping and changing as my digital system is NCE and was not quite compatible with Dan’s Digitrax system.
Once I’d done that, the layout was working again and I can have plenty of fun, switching cars around. I hope you’ll enjoy my progress as I work through my stock, continuing detailing and weathering and fine tuning.

Some of my photos on Flickr;


D'oh! Must put the end handrails on this MP15! Silly boy.











As this layout is appearing for it’s first time under my stewardship, at the Leigh show this coming weekend, I thought I’d better introduce it here!

Cheers,
John.
_________________
TTFN,
John E.

My other club's exhibition:
http://forum.mtimag.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=2119
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giles b



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1985
Location: London

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely spacious track layout and a great back-scene! Certainly captures the wide open spaces of mid-America.
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Blackcloud Railways



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1985
Location: Sandbach UK

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hadn't actually noticed the backscene until I scrolled down to Giles's comment then went back for another look.

That's not a bad thing, the backscene is meant to appear to be a continuation of the 3D scenery rather than stand out in its own right and, as such, it does the job perfectly.

As for the layout as a whole, again it has the sprawling look of a railroad that is not confined by urban development, all too often a modeller would try to cram more into that space. I reckon you've got yourself a good one there. Very Happy
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Bob Hughes
Playing Trains

Once there were mountains on mountains and once there were sunbirds to soar with and once I could never be down.
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allegheny1600



Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 77
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Guys!
If you want to see it in person, it is at the Leigh exhibition today! See link below.
I will get some snaps of it and the rest of the layouts today.
Cheers,
John.
_________________
TTFN,
John E.

My other club's exhibition:
http://forum.mtimag.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=2119
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allegheny1600



Joined: 19 Jun 2010
Posts: 77
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of photos showing preparations and at the show.


Although my grain silos are much smaller than the original, I very much wanted to recreate the large red “Welcome to New Ulm” seen on the top of them so, after some experimentation, I selected a suitable font and size and printed the words out. I had to cut them up in order to stick them onto the silos.


Here is the result, the red ink bled slightly but it just looks as though the weather has been at work.



I also had to change the sign on the little servicing facility, not entirely successful but I’m reasonably satisfied with it for now.


Here, you can see where I added a cut-out picture of the real New Ulm water tower.
Again, not totally successfully as you can easily see the join between the original back-scene and the picture but this was my third attempt at matching the blue.
Unfortunately, this water tower was demolished a few years ago and I couldn’t find many decent photos of it online. There were ladders and signal antennas sticking out from it so on photos, it looked to have ‘fuzzy’ edges and so I felt it difficult to cut around the actual tank, perhaps I should have persevered though.


Several people remarked upon the ‘spacious’ feel of the layout, I was very pleased by this.
I should have taken more photos but was so very busy, next time hopefully, although I didn't receive any further invitations at the show, oh well!
Cheers,
John.
_________________
TTFN,
John E.

My other club's exhibition:
http://forum.mtimag.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=2119
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