No. 37: The Bump Out (Ackley Layout)

In an effort to gain a little more space for operations, I tried adding something I call a “bump out”.

I saw a photo of such a “bump out” on Warner Clark’s Proto48 Nickel Plate layout in Indianapolis (seen below).  Warner has several of these extensions into the aisle to create space for structures or other features that–without the additional space–would’ve been off the layout.  Thanks Warner for the good idea.


The photo below shows the area before I installed the bump out.  The track at the extreme left is the track being extended into the aisle.  That’s a beautiful, ice cold La Chouffe at the far left.  The La Chouffe Gnome is responsible for a lot of sitting around when I should be working on the layout.


Construction of the bump out was pretty easy.  I attached two spare pieces of lumber across the bottom of the layout and extended them approximately 14 inches deep, and 16 inches wide, into the aisle.  Then I built up a wood frame on top of the extension and then covered it with the same styrodur I used as the subroadbed for the rest of the layout.  The bump-out allows me to add 1-2 car spaces for the single-track spur that leads to Carsten’s Building Supply warehouse.  Here’s what the finished thing looks like from underneath:


The structure for the bump out is simple, light and easily removable.  It is constructed with mostly leftover materials so I suppose it could be considered a throw away item.

Above.  Here is a photo of the bump out under construction.  This picture explains more than I could with a couple of paragraphs.  I screwed the boards on the bottom and built up a box around it, and covered it with leftover Styrodur.  As you can see it didn’t gain me much track–just about enough room for one additional car.  I didn’t want to push it too far to the right because of scenery considerations.


Above.  Here’s how the bump out looks today.  It is finished and ready for scenery.

Before building the bump out I was concerned that it would get in the way when operating the layout.  As you can see from the photo below, it really doesn’t get in the way at all.  I can easily reach around both sides of the bump out and I don’t need to reach over it to get to anything.


I mentioned earlier that this additional track represents the short, single-track siding used to reach Carstens Building Supply.  Carstens received lumber, building supplies of all types, and coal, among other things.  I don’t know if they shipped anything.

Carstens was at the end of the siding and I don’t have room to model the warehouse like I want.  Between the main line and Carstens, the siding also had a number of other customers over the years, including a coal house, a mill, a propane dealer, a “warehouse”, and possibly a grain mill of some kind.  I’d like to put either a coal dealer or a small grain elevator on that spot–maybe both.  I read somewhere that there was a flax mill on that track at one point, but I can’t find that reference today.

Here’s the map from 1930 (below); the siding leaves the main track at the right of the photo and goes up towards the top along Main Street.  The Carstens warehouse is just off the top of the photo.


Below, a closer view of the IC crossing and the Carstens siding.  You can see there was a coal dock and a “warehouse” there at one point.


Above, a view of the Carstens warehouse as it existed in 2008.  Photo by Doug Harding.  This is the trackside view.

The plan right now is to add a small grain elevator with a coal dealer on the bump out.  I am also considering modeling the Carstens building but turning it sideways.  At least I would have it on the layout.

If I model an elevator, loads and empties could be handled from the mill, and if I can find room for a coal unloader then inbound loads of coal could be handled as well.  I like the idea of inbound loads of coal because open-top cars–especially full cars like gons or hoppers–tend to generate a lot of variety on the layout, and contrast, and interest.  I may have to rebuild the bump out to be a little larger to get two cars delivered comfortably.

The two photos below are included as an example of the type of elevator I’m thinking of building on the bump out.  I found this little gem in Marion, Ohio on the former NYC line just east of the Marion Union Station.  Trackside is at the far left of the photo.


A rear view of the Marion elevator.


The two photos below were shared by one of the boys on the Proto Layouts list a few years ago.  This is a cool elevator–only about twice the height of a box car.



The nice thing about the bump out is I could make several of them, each with a different industry, and change them out for some variety.  Yeah, maybe I’ll do that…


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