Layout project that brings back memories.

JCitron

Trainzing since 12-2003
I decided to work on a model railroad route. This will be my third attempt at one. Like a lot of routes we build, we start them and for some reason they end up in the bin. These like the others end up in the virtual scrap bin and never see the light of day. This particular route, however, came about on Thursday as part of the single-board challenge for the Multiplayer Surveyor Beta. NJP setup a route for us to build on. He wants us to build as much as we can on a single baseboard. For the "challenge", I decided to build my very first model railroad. With that multiplayer being beta, and the routes not downloadable yet, I decided to build this for real in TRS2019 (plus). The reasons are two-fold. First because I want to add in another baseboard and build it to its correct shape, and also the asset types is really limited still in the multiplayer and I want to add in assets that look similar to what I remember on the layout.

When I was 7, my grandfather gave me an Aurora/Revell N-Gauge Postage Stamp trainset for Christmas in 1968. This was in the early days of N-scale and the early entry into the US market. The set consisted of a simple twice around loop with a couple of switches and a crossover, a powerpack, and a small consist consisting of an Pennsylvania F7 diesel (marketed as an F9), B&M boxcar, Southern gondola, an ATSF flatcar, and a matching Pennsy caboose. We setup everything on the living room rug and ran it a few times, but being N-scale and quite fragile, my dad decided it wasn't a good idea and went about building me a layout.

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The initial layout was built as is and placed on a simple piece of 2ft x 4ft plywood. Dad got fancy and put in two bridges just to the right of the curves in the upper left corner. As time went on, the layout changed a bit and he took the original layout shown here, and expanded it slightly. If I can find my original service manual and catalog because he drew on the plan what his changes were, it would easy to illustrate the changes he made to the layout, but without it I'll have to explain it. Starting at the front, the middle track that crosses and forms the inner spiral was lengthened just a bit to the right by a track segment. The bend that connects to the crossover was replaced with a switch, and a line was connected to form a short passing loop on the inside track.

This basic layout became my layout, and shortly after the track plan changed, he raised the back edge to form a slight rise (more about this later). He then used the "Hells Gate Bridge" kit on the upper track, and one of the Warren Truss approach bridges as the bridge for the inner loop. Where the Layout No. 2 is shown, was a small lake that hosted a few rowboats and a small dock.

In the front, just above the third track at the top, was a passenger station. This was a big "modern" station with a cafe, and leading to the left was a short lane with 4 houses - two complete cottages and two houses under construction. Also included was that given and always ubiquitous tunnel over the two tracks in the left corner.

Now this layout, as built, could never be expanded beyond its 2ft x 4ft dimensions. Remember I mentioned the slight rise? The reason for the ever so slight rise and size was due to some height limitations. This layout was meant to fit under my bed and had to clear the sideboard on the frame. To bring the layout out, it sat on some very squeaky grey-colored castor wheels. I can still hear them today, and when I hear something similar I have flashbacks to this layout. The layout was kept fairly clean, but still it was not perfect and the cleaning was a big part of the layout back then with it under the bed and close to the floor.

This layout when completed contained a number of custom scratch-built objects. Being a graphic and fine artist, he constructed some beautiful objects of which I still have today tucked away. One of these is a water tower constructed out of cardstock and balsa wood. If I can find it, I will post pictures of it. That object alone is a show piece. He also made some billboards out of balsa, cardstock, and pictures from magazines. Since he worked in the graphics industry for a production house, he made use of their photostat equipment and made some billboards by scaling down the images clipped from various magazines and fitting them into some green painted frames. To complete the frames, he put some cloth mesh on the bottom part to represent the lattice found on the various billboards in their day.

Over the years I eventually received the Lil Donkey steam locomotive, an ATSF diesel and dummy (my brother had the dummy unit), a couple of passenger cars, and a Rivarossi/Atlas Indiana Harbor Belt steam locomotive. The steam engine died much like a lot of them from that era I found out much later.

The layout lasted until 1975 when it was disassembled and the parts distributed to another much bigger layout and further on to other layouts. Today all this is packed in a plastic crate, along with my other model railroad stuff I had when I gave up the physical hobby in 2004.

Anyway as I started working on the route on Thursday, and more so today as I searched online for the plan shown above, I found myself remembering various good and bad times, my grandfather, and so many other things I forgot about in the 53 years since this layout was first built.

Here's the a website and catalog from Aurora.
http://davidksmith.com/postage-stamp-trains/index.htm

http://davidksmith.com/postage-stamp-trains/service_manual-2.htm

Take a look at the prices! You could pick up a decent running diesel for $12.50.
 

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That's a nice project you've got there John. One of the things I love about the TMR format is that I can go back in time and build the layouts I saw in magazines when I was younger and always wanted to build. And with the advantage of not blowing my meger savings or making messes that need to be cleaned up.
 
I shall follow this with great interest, John - especially if you list any snags you come across - because I find plenty!

Ray
 
That's a nice project you've got there John. One of the things I love about the TMR format is that I can go back in time and build the layouts I saw in magazines when I was younger and always wanted to build. And with the advantage of not blowing my meger savings or making messes that need to be cleaned up.

I've done the same and those were the routes I let go. I have a bunch of old layout books from Model Railroad and Kalmbach Publishing that I should scan. They do have some online, but not as many as they should. Just before TMR was released and Basemapz, Model Railroad had a complete library of layouts on DVD. I should have picked up the set but didn't and now it's all out of print. I hear you on the cost. I can't believe the prices for rolling stock and models these days. It's no wonder the physical hobby is declining. People really can't afford it unless they are the über-riche.

I shall follow this with great interest, John - especially if you list any snags you come across - because I find plenty!

Ray

This ought to be interesting I agree. The snags I've run into in the past have been the dimensions being faked. In many cases they have been crunched or spread out to fit the publication, or the artist that drew them faked stuff to make them look pretty, and what they drew doesn't fit into actual dimensions. It was due to this that the routes I attempted in the past ended up being scrapped because I was quite frustrated with the process. Hopefully this project goes a lot easier.

My one successful project is my Scenic and Relaxed route that's up on the DLS. I did that in TRS2009 or TS2010 so it's a bit old now. I might take that one and update it to TRS2019 standards and see how it goes. That one is done as I built it with a slight change in the yard as mentioned in the Atlas Nine N-scale layouts book to allow for an extra yard lead. I built this layout in 2000-2004 timeframe and its 2ft x 6ft size fit into my bedroom. In 2003 I discovered TRS2004, and due to that and many reasons the layout became neglected and abandoned. Today everything is packed in plastic crates and boxes.
 
I agree, - the price of anything for model railways these days is shocking. As a young teenager I had no problems buying what I needed with my pocket money and I don't think that would be possible these days. Mind you I did a lot of scratchbuilding and I always checked out the second hand corner in the local model shops to find bargains, but even the 'bargains' are expensive now. And that's another thing, the model shops I used to visit have all closed down. Sometimes progress isn't a good thing at all.
 
Probably mentioned before, I still buy Railway Modeller occasionally if a layout or article takes my fancy (TMR project!) but browsing the ads the prices are just outrageous. I remember back in the late 70's and early 80's paying around £15 - £20 for a Lima locomotive and maybe £5 for a Mark One coach in Beatties.

I also find this site quite fascinating...

http://www.hornbyguide.com/publication_menu.asp

I like looking through the early 70's catalogues which was when I was at school and my parents couldn't afford more than the clockwork train set or one year the "Big Big Train" plastic O gauge set.

One of the items on my TMR agenda is to set up a 1970's style Hornby layout and see how much of that rolling stock from the 1972 and 1973 catalogues we can actually assemble in Trainz.
 
One of the items on my TMR agenda is to set up a 1970's style Hornby layout and see how much of that rolling stock from the 1972 and 1973 catalogues we can actually assemble in Trainz.

I like the sound of that Vern, - should be a fun project.
 
Hornby LNER B12 black bought 1963-ish, newly introduced, £2.00 plus 5 shillings for the tender (sold separately). I wanted mine green, stripped it, repainted with Humbrol Apple Green (I think ninepemce). The next week Hornby introiduced the green version! I still have it, together with my scratch built rake of LNER green/cream tourist coaches made around the same time in 1mm plywood - not easy to cut windows even with a Stanley knife. Never run as I never had a layout big enough to take the full set. The coaches came second in a rolling stock construction competition (Hemel Hempstead exhibition). Unfortunately only two entries!

Most of my coaches were made of shellacked card and laboriously panelled with fine strips. When it was introduced, I used UHU - unfortunately this was dissolved by the methylated spirit used to dissolve the shellac flakes and I ended up with a complete set of parts. I still have them all (the coaches that is, not the parts) but gave up "real" modelling in 2006 - Trainz much easier!

I was always interested in creating rather than running, other than to ensure things worked properly. Still am. Never much sucess with plastic card. Over the years, painted over 3000 miniature figures.

Ray
 
Reading about your meths dissolving problem reminds me of back in the late 1960s. I had just switched to 009 (Egger HOe) and had made a small first layout using Egger track. I decided to clean the track using electrical switch cleaner. Unfortunately I used the wrong one which dissolved the plastic base and ruined the points. An expensive disaster as, if I remember correctly, Egger had by that time gone off the market so I had to scrap everything.
 
I still have an O gauge LSWR milk van that I made with a 1mm and 2mm ply bodyshell overlayed with a panelling lace doily that I painstakingly cut from varnished paper. I never like using plasticard either and much preferred to work in wood, card and paper.
I used to own a Triang B12 as well that I took back to early post-grouping condition. Mostly though I was an early period LMS girl during my late teens and twenties and I've lost count of the number of Triang 'Jinties' that I sawed up and converted into ex-Midland engines.
 
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Oh, was even funnier when Georgie rolled like this so as to Not cause a derailment,
(ya know, some content creator should model a moving cat like that)
(and it could have an attached track segment like a water tower, water crane, or coaling tower)
(or he could be a track object that you place like a speedboard or signal)

Was interesting that the G scale train ran over his leash across the track just fine.

Saw the situation coming and had a second to decide to switch camera to video, decided to stay on stills.

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I never like using plasticard either and much preferred to work in wood, card and paper.
Will comment that I do enjoy what plasticard, styrene sheet, offers.
However ...
Balsa, mattboard, basswood, still have much appeal -
and they should, after all, my surname is Wood.
:)
These G scale cars have sat dormant for a few years. Just got done scribing some 3/32 balsa sheet for siding on one then yesterday sealing it with shellac.
Still need to figure out what style roof to give them.
And then how to make it.
Now need to go buy some more 3/32 sheet balsa when I can get over to the city.
Isn't enough left to do other car's siding.

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Will comment that I do enjoy what plasticard, styrene sheet, offers.
However ...
Balsa, mattboard, basswood, still have much appeal -
and they should, after all, my surname is Wood.
:)
These G scale cars have sat dormant for a few years. Just got done scribing some 3/32 balsa sheet for siding on one then yesterday sealing it with shellac.
Still need to figure out what style roof to give them.
And then how to make it.
Now need to go buy some more 3/32 sheet balsa when I can get over to the city.
Isn't enough left to do other car's siding.

49790159601_369a3da8f0_c.jpg
Nice! It's been a long time since I did "hands on" modeling. Miss it sometimes
 
When I had my last N-scale layout setup, my now late cats found that to be a fun thing to play with. Lulu the big ragdoll cat with soupy eyes used to steal things from the route. One day I found some buildings and a string of boxcars on the living room floor. My sister was living at our house at the time with my nephew then about 3 years old. When I found the rolling stock and models, I blamed the kid for taking them because he was apt to do that. My sister came to his defense and said Lulu did it. I didn't argue, but still thought the kid did it until...

I was working on the layout one day and Lulu jumped up, grabbed the small church by the steeple and ran off with it for the living room!

Her sister Lily wasn't much different. She used to steal things as well but usually dog toys, socks, and occasional slippers. She, however, found my nicely wired route to be something to play around under and on. One day, she grabbed the neat wire harness I created as I wired up the different blocks and hung upside down on the wire bundle like a swing! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her do that! The kicker is my wiring was perfect on the first try and after that, I had connection issues I had to continuously chase down all over the place because she broke the solder bonds on the tracks I had carefully soldered into place.

After this and many other incidents, I decided it was time to move on. With me discovering TRS2004 in December 2003, the route was torn down and everything was packed away into crates.

On another note, the route I started in the first post has been lost. Seeing this forum post again makes me think of starting it over again when I have the time.
 
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