Track Plan

Here is a look at my track plan.  It consists of two outer loops and various sidings for industries.  The spur on the left will be expanded down to a coal unloading dock on the coast.  Industries in the center will include a sawmill where logs will be dropped off and lumber will be picked up, a liquefied propane unloading station and various shipping depots.  In the upper right corner, the cut out shows the two loops traversing a mountain via a tunnel.  There is a spare switch in the mountain for a potential helix.  This helix may eventually lead to a future upper deck where passenger service will be managed.  The layout is currently in one corner of my home office, there is a lot of potential for expansion.

NScaleLayout Grampy

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Tunneling

Every layout needs a tunnel!  I built a table in the closet to support the track as it ran through the “tunnel”.  The track is positioned such that a second line could be run to the inside of the curve.  There is the possibility of adding a helix here as well.

Table built.

Detail of ramp: 3/4″ rise.

Track Conversion

The layout I inherited from my grandfather was done with Kato Unitrack.  I knew I would eventually convert it to something more realistic.  I’ve liked working with Atlas brand track, and its easy to get a hold of, so it was my natural first choice.  That and I had a box of Atlas flex-track and cord roadbed in storage.

I could not convert the entire layout in one fell swoop, buying all the switches would exceed by budget.  I would need to do it in sections.  I planned on converting the loop first, followed by the various sidings.  In order to accomplish this, I created two sections of conversion track.  They would be placed at the beginning of the conversion and one would “move” with the end of the converted track as I converted different sections.

Custom built transition track

I built two pieces, each a different length.  I have one that is a combined 3″ long and a second one that is a combined 9″ long.

I’ll upload another picture in the future, when the pieces are not in use. =p

News, Bittersweet News

Has it really been over a year since my last post?  Wow…time sure does fly.  I’ve been very busy with work and family.  I have not had much time to work on model railroading in the last year or so, but that all changed recently.  Just look: my son helping me with my N-Scale layout!

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My son, Chad, and I terraforming.

Here is a catch up story.  My grandfather, Cyrus Palmer, started me in model railroading when I was very young.  If I had to guess, I was around 8 years old when he and my father helped me build my first 4’x8′ HO layout.  Later that expanded to a second 4’x8′.  Since then, I have always had an interest in the hobby.  Through college and the first few years with my wife and son, I had no time to invest in it.  Money was also an issue: everything I had was in pretty poor shape and all controls were DC.  Most of what I had, I played with as a kid, and it was showing its age.

Skipping ahead a couple decades: My grandfather passed away last month.  He was 93 years old and had lived a very full and successful life.  Before he passed, he told one of his daughters, he wanted me to have all his model railroading gear. Little did I know, that gift would reawaken my interest in N-Scale model railroading.

I loaded his layout into the back of a pickup truck and hauled it home.  Along with the table came boxes of parts and pieces, rail cars, trees, shrubbery and…..a complete MRC DCC system!  I quickly set to work tearing down the start of an N-Scale layout I had in my office.  I made room for the largest portion of his layout then filled in around it and expanded it.

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The large part of Cy’s layout.

 

News, Bittersweet News
Area inside the red lines shows the large part of Cy’s original layout.

To move Cy’s layout, I cleared everything off it, leaving only the track and mountains behind.  All buildings, trees, cars, and loose pieces came off and were packed up.  In the picture above, you can see his layout in its new home.  I spread new grass, planted trees and placed the buildings.

The layout was an “L” shape but the smaller leg was too long so it was removed.  Cy had a mountain on the removed portion, along with a couple sidings, so not much was lost.  I salvaged everything from it and relaid the loop that would have ran through it.  In fact, in the first picture, you can see my son helping me fill in around my grandfather’s mountain with new Sculpt-a-mold.  I reused as many parts of my grandfather’s layout as I could, including the mountain, honorably named “Palmer Hill”.

News, Bittersweet News
Filled in around the original layout and rebuilt the removed loop.

Its only been a month or so, but I’ve worked on this new layout almost daily.  It is a blessing to have been given such a wonderful gift and with it, some form of responsibility.  Each time I work on it, I think back to the days of watching my grandfather run his layout, with an 8 year old me at his side.  I inspect the way he constructed his roads, buildings, trees…I am still learning tricks from him, even though he has passed.

Thank you “grampie” for introducing me to the world’s greatest hobby.  Thank you for mentoring me, loving me and leaving me with that which was so dear to you.  I miss you, but know that part of you lives on in this model railroad.