John Armstrong

Vertical Turnouts on the Canandaigua Southern

John Armstrong
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Duration:   1  mins

John Armstrong is credited with inventing the vertical turnout. On his Canandaigua Southern model railroad, they connect the verge with the hidden ore tracks. It’s a manifestation of the empties in, loads out. The empties just got hauled in by the mine switcher from verge, which is the end of the run ready to be loaded in the mine. The vertical turnout is raised and the little switchers will push the empties back, essentially to Pittsburgh.

Some believe that John also invent hidden staging areas. However, he credits Frank Ellison. Although Ellison didn’t refer to it as staging, he operated in this fashion. However, his staging yards were at both ends of the railroad, which were visible. This was a similar concept to hidden staging areas used by John. Of course if there is room to do this, it certainly is a lot more convenient to have staging above ground.

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2 Responses to “Vertical Turnouts on the Canandaigua Southern”



  2. Robert Kjelland

    I had a chance twice to spend evenings with John. He gave me a tour each time of the layout and discussed design features that had been in the hobby press, and others that hadn't He also talked about his layout being "Kellerized" as it was just a short time after Allen Keller had visited to record video. John said Allen had rearranged a lot of his trains to make them more "photogenic." While working to rearrange the trains in the reverted loop, John said he made a mistake spiking rail directly to the wood without using ties. He lamented that he could not "hear" when and where a train was derailed in hidden staging and it took some time to find and fix the problem.

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