Ideas for unique layouts/routes

Yet another idea:

An extensive harbor/seaport railroad with curves so sharp docks and many industries can only be served by 0-4-0T's (like little joe). Somewhat larger locos to feed them from smaller yards, and of course mainline locos feed the intermediate locos. Lots of trackage in streets, docks with tracks, ships of various types, and industries galore (and everyone loves little joe - I had one many many-moons ago, lol).


Ben, I did one similar, with a bit of your help several years ago. The Jay Street Connecting RR. Remember the E.W. Bliss buildings, Arbuckle Coffee Headquartes, Arbuckle warehouse and more. There are still some tracks in the streets of Brooklyn from this railroad. Two 0-4-0 locos for power. Only connection to other railroads was via car floats. There were several buildings with tracks inside the building. The Arbuckle Coffee Company had a 9 track yard on the ground floor of the building. And finding brick buildings was not a problem!

I'm currently working on the Portland Terminal Railroad. Serves a business park that covers about 1 sq mile. There are over 80 industry spots for cars. Connection to outside world is the BNSF yard.

Check out for some very interesting terminal operations.

This is somewhat related to the original topic but I think it's close enough:

Have you ever had open space on a route that you want to fill but you can't think of anything to put there?
We'll start a list.

-Sports fields
-Reservoirs/water towers
-Small-scale farms (a greenhouse and a few rows of crops)
-Tractor-trailer or bus parking lots
-Places of interest (museums, mansions, old ruins, etc.)
-Maintenance centers (a few modern metal buildings in a gravel lot, for example, a garage and an office. Park work trucks or heavy equipment there.)
-Fertilizer silos and pesticide tanks (In agricultural areas, placed as a cluster at, say, a crossroads)
-Self-storage facilities
What about a railroad that's on an island and can only be accessed by car float? I know that there are a few routes like this, but you can make the route more unique by having all trains begin on the mainland. You would have to load your train onto a car float and then take the car float to the island, where you unload your train from the car float, do what you need to do on the island (work industries), then load your train back onto the car float. You then take the car float back to the mainland, where you unload the train from the car float and call it a day. A unique twist on the normal 'railroad on an island' route.
Oh, and another one. How about Canadian Pacific's Slocan Lake Division? A CP train must load onto a car float, float across Slocan Lake, then unload the train on the other side of the lake, head to a remote pulpwood mill, serve it, then return to the car float, load the train back onto the float, and then float back across the lake to the connection with the remainder of Canadian Pacific and the rest of the world.
I'm making a model railroad that is a shortline that doesn't exist on paper. Here's how this is possible.

Local grain elevator owner: Excuse me, Mr. Conrail local manager, I know you are abandoning the branch servicing my elevator, can you just send my cars to the interchange yard and keep an old engine lying around so that I can switch my own cars
Conrail local manager: I don't see why not.

So basically the line has an RS27 that was technically taken off the roster but is still owned by Conrail, and the cars are left in the yard while a grain elevator crew pulls them down the short branch to the elevator, sorts them, spots them, and takes the loads to the yard.

Several years later the higher management found out, the operation was stopped, the manager was fired, and then Conrail refused to serve the elevator, so it closed shortly after the service was cancelled.
Pweiser just released new IC electric MU cars that only have high-level doors, so they only work with high platforms. What if there was a small interurban that bought a few used ones and had some city trackage where people could get on anywhere? Since they wanted to continue operating like this they sunk the trackage into a trench for its entire route in the city so that the ground level was like a platform.
I was looking a pictures of a small electric tourist line and since the wire wasn't very visible in some pictures, it gave me an idea. What if there was some tourist line that owned a Plymouth, SW1, or some other small diesel and a wooden interurban car, maybe an old wood caboose or two and a work car if you wanted, and about halfway along the route there was a small yard/siding with a light shed (basically just a wood canopy) that the diesel was parked under when not operating, and the electric wire only ran from that point to the line's end? When trains would run, they start at the end of track on the electrified side, and run toward this small shed and yard. The train, currently consisting of an interurban car and cabooses, stops near the shed and the diesel comes out of the shed and couples to the front. The trolley poles are lowered, and the motorman enters the diesel engine, while the conductor stays in the car. Then the whole train is pulled by the diesel to the other end of track, where there may be another station or just a platform, etc. Before going back to the other end, the whole train drives onto a runaround. Then the diesel and interurban pull forward past the siding switch. The switch is changed and the interurban runs around to the other end of the train. The diesel then couples back onto the train. Now the interurban car can be used as a cab car (since they are usually double-ended), occupied with the conductor using his radio to assist the motorman who is still in the cab of the diesel. When the whole train reaches the limit of electrification they don't need the diesel anymore and after they push the trolley onto the electrified track, they cut the diesel off and park it in the shed. Then they raise the trolley poles again and drive to the end of the track. There they run around the cabooses again, so they whole thing is reset for another trip.
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This kind of operation is different but not unusual. When the Lowell National Historic Park first opened, they setup a small diesel that pulled an interurban car on a former Boston & Maine spur which delivered goods to the various mills along the tracks. Today the line is run under wire and there is both a modern trolley car built to look like an antique open car, as well as, cars on loan from the Seashore Trolley Museum.
Bit of a bump...

Here's a list of projected railway lines in the UK which never quite made it to the construction stage. It could be good fun in Surveyor pondering the route these would have followed and laying out accordingly:

Central Essex Railway
East Kent Railway Extensions
East Sussex Railway
Gower Light Railway
Hadlow Railway
Headcorn and Maidstone Junction Railway
Hedingham and Long Melford Railway
Kelvedon, Coggeshall and Halstead Railway
Lands End, St Just and Great Western Junction Railway
Long Melford and Hadleigh Railway
Maidstone and Faversham Junction Railway
Maidstone and Sittingbourne Railway
Newport and Four Ashes Railway
Orpington , Cudham and Tatsfield Railway
Shropshire Railways ( Shrewsbury and Market Drayton Extension)
Southern Heights Railway
Surrey and Sussex Railway
Worcester and Broome Railway
I know this thread is a bit old but I thought of another interesting idea...

What if G&W was contracted to operate passenger service and they had coaches painted in the G&W scheme along with SDP45's and that type of engine pulling them, maybe converted SD40-2's or GP38-2's? A lot of people don't like the G&W scheme but I think it's ok, and it would look nice on a smooth-side passenger car. This could either be done like they are taking over for Amtrak (similar to Iowa Pacific and the Hoosier State) or it could be a new commuter service.

Other shortline holding companies that this would work with:
Pioneer Railcorp
Gulf and Ohio Railways

You could do this with anything actually but these have cool paint schemes that would look nice adapted to a passenger car.
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I'm trying to model a section of narrow-gauge to illustrate the start of a conversion. That is, the company recently decided to convert the 3ft rail to standard gauge, so the old 3ft equipment is working alongside a variety of custom-made and purpose built equipment. This results in some pretty strange looking trains.