About Liberty Street

The Long Story of a Short Railroad

Archives of What's Next - 2009 2010

February 13, 2011: Circumstances (involving a nestling returning to the nest...which I won't go into) have made it necessary to move from the basement to the spare bedroom. Since the process involved some deconstruction (the Freightyard was not so carefully designed to be movable), I chose to rebuild Libertystreet and get back on the enlightened path of the original philosophy.

That philosophy was simply to build a completely portable, semi-self contained scene using off the shelf turnouts, etc... Adding more self contained scenes as seperate shelf units as time and fortune allowed. This philosophy turns out to have been reasonable for me and I should have stayed with it. Also it seemed I actually missed having Libertystreet to work on, I had all the structures just sitting around so it made perfect sense to just reassemble it.

Now, while rebuilding the layout I did make some alterations to the track alignment to correct some "flaws" that had always nagged at me on the original. In a departure from, or refinement of the philosophy, Code 70 track and homemade or kit-built turnouts and crossings were used. The Code 70 rail is a better choice for my era. The turnouts I had learned to make reliably while working on the Freighthouse layout are better suited to my short wheelbase locos. Also, homemade turnouts are much less expensive and I am not getting richer as I get older. I still stand by the original philosophy to use off the shelf Atlas Code 83 turnouts, crossing and flex track.


The Freighthouse is not dead though. I still plan to build again, holding to the principles of compactness and portability that drove this project from the start.

Not only that, I have recently recieved a set of detailed plans for the freighthouse which shed new light on the project. You can see the PDFs of the freighthouse on their own page, FreighthousePDF.html


August 8, 2011: The entire Spring and Summer has past... So, this is a rundown of what's been accomplished on the layout and elsewhere.


The "New" Liberty Street under construction. Fortunately, I was able to recover and reuse some of the turnouts built for the Freighthouse which greatly eased the rebuilding process.


Here I am starting the process of locating the new crossover to the coal yard. The crossing was built in place on PC ties from Clover House and is a much smoother version than the old Atlas one.


The finished crossing with ballast.


I took a break from layout construction to work on some projects at the shop. One was a set of cars for the Rock Island's "Bellville Rocket" that our friend and local railroad historian Bill White asked me to put together for him. The Baggage/RPO was an old Roundhouse kit. To create a faithful replica of this car two windows had to be filled on each side, the side doors that were particular to this car were fabricated from styrene and the roof vents modified. The car was painted with floquil silver from a can. The chair car "Dream Lake" was a Walthers car that was fitted out with a scratch built interior, letterboard and painted with Alclad II Stainless Steel and then decaled. The Pullman is a stock Walthers car. An interesting train all-in-all especially when pulled by Bill's brass AB6


Back on the layout, here are some "finished" shots of Liberty Street 2.


No. 3 pushing some cars into place at Abernathy furniture seen just peeking around the crowd of cars in the yard.


I find it interesting to see things from the layout's point of view.


And even more interesting to imagine what the scene would have looked like through the lense of a photographer in 1895.


Viewing the newly reconstituted Liberty Street over the newly reconstructed Ninth Street elevated railway. Compare with this photo showing the same view on the previous incarnation of Liberty Street.


Wide view of Liberty Street in operation.


The Coal trestle on the old layout always left something to be desired so here at least a redo had the effect of spurring some improvements. The bents/bin walls are now concrete and the rail is running on iron beams the lenght of the trestle.


The very latest project to be completed are two ancient IHC cars superdetailed for a friend that included some homemade decals (Doc Snyder did the artwork and screenprinted these...I watched). The Bliss Refining car was inspired by a photograph of a St.Louis Refining car and I think the finished (except for the still to come fox trucks) model makes for a pretty distinctive model.


October 1, 2011: Once again, things have changed and Libertystreet is banished to the basement. I am certainly glad I chose to make the railroad portable especially since it has been "ported" so much this year. Since I have never been happy with the backdrop construction on the original I have taken this opportunity to get rid of it. In the new installation, the wall has been painted with a sky blue that will be the new backdrop eliminating all those troublesome joints that had to be dealt with in photo editing.

Out with the Old

Disassembling Libertystreet for the second time in a year. Bits and pieces all boxed up and ready to be ferried to the basement.

In with the New

The beginnings of the rebuilding effort... making the best of the situation. The newly painted walls to replace the old backdrop has been long overdue.


October 21, 2011 Now that Liberty Street is home again in the basement construction has finally begun on the Dold Packing Plant. The rail crossing at Ninth Street is completed with some road work and sidewalks yet to be finished but the track is all in at the Dold Plant and plans are well underway for new and updated structures. I have added a section for Dold Packing on the Liberty Street tour.

The Dold Packing Plant has been on the plan for Libertystreet from the beginning over seven years ago. The Office/Store was built long ago as was a version of the packing house itself, these never had a proper setting. I had run tracks across Ninth Street and into the area but never formalized a track plan. While the Sanborn map is at odds with the photographic evidence and the Panoramic view in either case the track arrangements historically don't offer much in the way of intrest. The plant would have been served by a sort of stub ended yard and cars would have been drilled into it from the Ninth Street entrance with no other important industry to introduce. I was afraid it would be a little boring.

One element that I had wanted to include from the beginning was all that overhead spindly bridge and cable aperatus that appears to connect the buildings on the extreme end of the plant. All those ramps and walkways at that end of the layout would frame this end in the same way as "the gate" had done on the left and the elevated bridge on Ninth street in the center had done. I just had no idea what use these could have served.

On the near edge of the layout on Ninth Street and on the Dold side of the street will be a small house and carriage house to highlight the fact that while this was a gritty industrial area, it was also a residential area. Now I can concentrate on all the little details that say 1895.