Building Sussex 0: The Inspiration

For a long time, I had the idea to build a module with a quarry. Sometimes I just draw a track plan and later look for a matching prototype. This has proven to be very inefficient. The proper way seems to be finding a prototype and creating a concept and track plan to create it as a model. That’s what I did for this module.

The Prototype

One day I watched an episode Model Railroader Video (MRV) about a lime stone quarry near Sussex, Wisconsin: Drew’s Trackside Adventures: Episode 25 – Quarry tour along the CN main. This was very inspiring. For a while I looked for other prototypes but this one was very inviting. It features a single double ended spur directly connected to the main line and an additional customer with a single ended spur. It requires some switching options but is not too extensive to totally block the main line for an extended amount of time. That makes a nice subject for a module.

The quarry

Reproducing this prototype to scale would result in a quarry scene that is about 5 meters long and straight. The quarry receives about 35 cars once and a while, which are loaded in five hours by a large frontend loader. When all cars are loaded an engine arrives to pick up the whole cut at once. The spur is even signalled. Today the quarry is operated by Lannon Stone Products but until 2013 it was operated by Vulcan Materials. This it will be called Vulcan Quarry on my modules. I like the look of the unused quarry pits, which partially are filled with water. The water has a turquoise tint and looks very special.

Wisconsin Building Supply

The second industry, Wisconsin Building Supply (WBS), is served by a single track which passes a ramp and leads to a team track on their property where either boxcars or center beam flat cars can be unloaded. There are two storage buildings that might be part of the module. A building supply makes a nice customer for the railroad as it might use a nice variety of cars.

The Plan

I prefer to model the prototype to scale. Sometimes this is neither practical due to the size of the subject nor does it take away from the operations to shrink it.

Both aspects are true for this module. A five meter long module is nice to look at, but it consumes a lot of space that could be used for other line modules or another industry.

Switching an industry with 35 identical cars is not very different from switching five to ten cars. So I discussed the options with a friend and we decided it would be sufficient to use up to ten cars in the quarry. The second customer, WBS, will be modelled close to scale.

We needed more curves in our module group, so we changed the layout slightly and added a bend to the quarry. The mainline is slightly off center to allow more room for the spur. All turnouts will be Atlas Code 55 #10 turnouts. We took the freedom of our modellers license to move the abandoned quarry pits from west to east of the mainline. That enabled us have parts of them on the module wich adds some visual interest and makes use of the third dimension. The body of the module is 10 cm high. The pits will have a depth of 8 cm.

Read more about the progress in my Building-Sussex Series.