The Geologically Improbable Railroad, Mountain Division

Early Versions

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7jan90_gvl_cabin__charlie_and_girr_rev_1.jpgThe first train originally arrived at Christmas in 1989. It was an R/C Big Hauler. A track powered Big Hauler followed in less than a week. We needed a place to set them up so I built a platform in the crawl space under the cabin. My son Charlie is at the controls.

11feb90_gvl_cabin__girr_rev_2_view_3.jpgAfter a little more track arrived in a couple of months, we had three nested loops and a Lake George and Boulder LGB set.

3oct93_gvl_cabin_construction_cleaned_out_1.jpgDuring the period from early 1990 to fall of 1993, planning was in work for a much more elaborate setup. The whole basement would be excavated and a "third" story built under the two story house. The layout was taken down just before construction started. This view would be roughly from the location of the entry door looking back to the stairway.

By the time I originally decided to excavate the basement in 1990, I thought I was going to get the work done fairly quickly. However, it took two years to get going and another year to get the job done. Between issues with the architect (had to fire the first guy and get it completely redone) and contractor bidding issues, I had a lot of time to plan the layout.

lgb_layout_rev_0.jpgThis was the diagram of the last version that sat on the wooden platform before excavation started. It gained a trolly loop to test the trolly and a couple of sidings. This the last one that was there before it all got ripped out to allow construction to start.

lgb_layout_rev_1.jpgIn the three years that planning and constructions was underway, I came up with various track plans that changed a lot over time. This was my first crack and it was entirely unacceptable. The duck under to get in wasn't going to cut it and the plan was really still just simple loops. I also determined that it was too small. I was trying to conserve space (for political considerations).

lgb_layout_rev_2.jpgBy October 1992, I had this version. It had a walk in section, but the reaches were still way too long, it was impractical and not very interesting with not too much operating potential.

The trolly line got incorporated into this version, but that is about all that remained through many subsequent revisions.

I developed a series of track templates to use in MacDrawPro where I did all these drawings. However, MacDrawPro bit rotted and became unsupported in later versions of Mac OS X. Eventually I switched to EasyDraw which could import MacDrawPro drawings, but sometimes there were errors, usually with elements rotated to the wrong orientation. I fixed some of them in the subsequent drawings, but I didn't fix them all. Also, on the following drawings, I show three levels of track overlaid with each other. That can get pretty confusing, but the major features still show.

As the years went by and these old diagrams became quickly obsolete, I sort of lost track of them. Over the past year I started looking for them again to put them on this page. I fired up one old computer after another and only the recent ones were on the computers. In October 2009, I finally found them on floppy disk, nicely archived and labeled in a box that I hadn't looked in in a long long time. I had only one working Macintosh, a PowerMac 7100, that still had a floppy disk drive and could connect to Ethernet so that I could move them to the newer generation of Macintosh. I managed to get it fired up and on the network. I was able to read the old disks, copy the files to the 7100 hard disk, and from there, copy them via Ethernet to a Mac OS X computer. From there, they have been properly archived, cataloged and converted to EasyDraw format. Hopefully in another 10 years, they won't have bit rotted too badly.

lgb_layout_3_7.jpgNot too much later, in November 1992, this was the version. I had expanded the layout to loop around the room, a feature that remained in the final version. It punched through the stairs in the upper center. GIRR Mountain with the spiral inside is another feature that stuck as did the upper level with the loop to loop structure. However, the town area changed drastically later. The scissors crossover also appeared in this version on the right hand side. The elevations of the inner and outer loops also changed. In this version, the outer loop is the lowest one, the inner loop higher. The outer loop also had a full circle made of two revering loops merged together. That feature remained for awhile and then faded away.

lgb_layout_rev_4_4.jpgBy this time, late November 1992, the 2nd architect had finished the drawings and he wanted to leave the area under the stairs filled with dirt to reinforce the top wall. This forced a change. It required a lift out bridge over the bottom of the stairs. The outer loop was still the low one. The town had attained it's more or less final state with the loop to loop trolly line. The scissors crossover was still on the right side.

I also turned around the yard in the upper left and added an engine service facility.

lgb_layout_5.jpgBy January 1993, the diagram hadn't changed a lot, but the main line bypass was added around the yard area was lengthened.

lgb_layout_rev_6_13.jpgBy November 1993, quite a bit had changed. I came to the realization that the way that the reinforcing walls would have to be made forced the elevations of the inner and out lines to switch. The inner became the lower line. This actually made a lot more sense. A new crossover was in evaluation on the lower center part of the diagram. This feature would remain while the other crossover would fade away. The reversing loop inside the mountain would fade as now it would interfere with the spiral to the upper loop. I also realized that working on the upper loop above the town would be really difficult and I wasn't sure what I was going to do about that.

lgb_layout_rev_7_92.jpgThen came the shocker. Sometime in late 1993, everything changed. The Mexican workers didn't read the plans, and the contractor wasn't there when they just dug out all the dirt under the stairs that the architect wanted left in place. We had to get the architect back in there and figure out what to do. He redesigned the retaining wall with thicker blocks and it was built up higher under the stairs. This left me with the area under the stairs open again. I reverted to a part of the plan that I had developed early on and ran the outer loop under and through the stairs again. This nuked the removable bridge and allows the upper loop to extend under the stairs as well. Now I could get to the back of the town and to the inside of the upper loop. Where the outer loop had gone behind the town, I placed a tail track for a wye so that I could still reverse trains on the outer loop. Another storage yard was added to the upper loop. The mine area was nuked as well however, it will return in the form of an On30 Davenport cut down to resemble a mine loco running on HO track in and out of the mine.

The plan finally came together just before the basement was finished. It shows in a less confusing view in the Mountain Diagrams page.

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© 2008 George Schreyer
Created 12 Jul 2008
Last Updated October 23, 2009