30 December, 2008

The End of a Year... and a Layout

Well, we come to the close of one Year and the beginning of a new one. So long 2008, Helllllo 2009. Here's hoping it is a better one locally and world-wide than 2008 has been.

As we say good-bye (and good ridance) to this year, I will be saying farewell to my layout, the Preston Junction RR. While track was laid, and scenery was started (road bases, building bases, etc), no "reall" greenery, nor formal operations were ever completed. My reason for building this was that I tried to ensure that my lovely bride was "looked after" in my building of a layout, making the main town based on her home town, so she would enjoy it (and let me spend more $ on it!).
After personal discussions with several layout experts (Authors Marty McGuirk (http://martymcguirk.com/) and Bernie Kempinski (http://www.geocities.com/bkempins/ASMMain/Main.html), to name a couple), along with many an e-mail and phone call with professional layout builder and craftsman kit expert Scott Mason (http://www.scottymason.com/), I spoke with the wife about where I am going with my layout and how far I can go with my existing layout. She agreed with the experts, it's time to focus on what I want and how I want to get there. She's already resigned herself to the fact that I'm a model train addict and if so, I should build the layout I dream about, not just one I think she will like. I've said it before, I'll say it again - I LOVE THIS WOMAN! So, I will be saying farewell to my existing layout in the not too distant future and start on my new and improved layout.

Phase I of the new layout - I want a yard, something like a MRR Forum Friend's, LVRALPH, only mine will be a portion of the Richmond, Fredericksburg, & Potomac's Acca Yard, in Richmond, VA along one wall that's slightly longer than 11' (it's longer because it's part of the entry way). This way, I can have trains coming south on the RF&P as well as north on the SCL/Family Lines, and new trains made up, to continue on. That would keep at least two operators busy, I'd think.

Acca Yard - picture 1

Acca Yard - picture 2
Definitely going to need selective compression on this one...The other Layout Design Element (thanks to Tony K) will be Doswell - Phase II of my layout, about 30 miles north of Acca, where the C&O crossed the RF&P. Up until the early 80's, they brought coal from the mountains down, where they either interechanged it so it would be shipped north, or continued on to Richmond. The C&O also did some local switching around that area.

Doswell, VA - the C&O/RF&P Interchange (Image by Larry Z. Daily - check out http://www.piedmontsub.com/Doswell.shtml)

The final phase, which I need to start researching, will be a small portion of the double track main, going through Ashland, VA - the tracks go right through the town, at grade, which makes for great scenery. If the aisles are at minimum width, I think I could fit a small peninsula in the middle of the room. The "E" configuration (similar to Jimmy's Pennsy), could give me more mainline run and allow me to model that portion of Ashland. The total prototype distance is only 30 miles, so with Bernie's, Marty's, Scott's, and everyone else's help, I could make this my third and final layout (see below for my first "bareboard express"). And, if I do this in a modular, step-based way, it can go with me, if & when we move. Hopefully, this isn't too ambitious.

My Original "Bareboard Express" - Dec 2006

Please ask any questions or provide comments. *Humming, "I'm still workin' on this railroad... all the live long day!" *
P.S. Anyone interested in purchasing a gently used, but not weathered, Life-Like Proto 2000 GP-7 Phase II, Road number: UP#105 (Factory-equipped DCC & Sound) and Athearn RTR UP caboose(s), please let me know (ndwolf@cox.net)

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