John Armstrong

Owner Inspiration & Techniques on the Canandaigua Southern

John Armstrong
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Duration:   14  mins

John Armstrong’s Canandaigua Southern is a freelance line running between Canandaigua, New York and Pittsburgh in the 1960’s. John is avoiding picking an exact date and route for his railroad, because he doesn’t want to have to represent specific locations. The specific time period of the railroad will remain rather flexible, other than the fact that it is October.

This flexibility is due to rolling stock covering a twenty year period. The Canandaigua Southern is not considered a regional carrier. John had in mind a heavy duty independent line, Class 1 in those days has changed significantly with inflation, so there are very few technical Class 1 lines. His line is Class 1 in terms of being relatively “big time”.

The operational scheme of the railroad is point to point with both points being offstage. The segment that is represented is the most interesting on the layout. There the B&O comes in from one direction, the Erie has a connection, and all comes into Cattaraugus. Cattaraugus is the western termination of joint running arrangements with New York Central and the Erie. The main line is not long enough to call for operations using a fast clock, so the time table is a sequence of operations centering around the yard at Cattaraugus.

The advantage of having this central versus on either end of the railroad is, apart from being the only way it would fit, he wanted a water grade operation and then a big hill. This puts the change in motive power point in the middle. In order to represent both the flat land and the mountain railroad, it should be in the middle so there is trackage of both types going in both directions. John does not expect to ever finish his railroad.

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