CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Friday, March 1, 2019

50 feet (600") Required

Reading is an important part of everyday life. My job involves reviewing contracts, and I not only read for the big picture but also for the little details. That is where the devil hides. So, imagine my great surprise when not 10 minutes ago (after I started typing this blog post, actually!) I realized I had made a mistake. A wonderful, glorious, mistake. This blog post was originally going to be titled "75 feet (900") Required" but that is incorrect. It is now titled "50 feet (600") Required." And what does that mean? I am going to tell you!

As part of the NMRA's MMR "Civil" Merit Badge requirements, you must build and scenic (with ballast, and drainage) 50 feet of track in HO scale. That can include, per their website, sidings and yard tracks. It doesn't have to be mainline track. But, somewhere along the way I got in my head that I needed 75 feet total. That is actually what is required in O scale, so perhaps the error is justifiable. But not to me. I just spent the past thirty minutes in my basement with a roll of twine and a yardstick measuring all of my track. My mainline (not including the lift bridge) is 453" long, my sidings are 205", and my staging yard not including the turntable lead or turntable stall tracks is 172." That totals 69 feet and change.

But I needed 75 feet, which left Mohawk Paper's spur to make up the difference. I also don't want to ballast Mohawk Paper now because the ground contours aren't defined yet, nor do I want to ballast around the turntable because I plan to rip it up after I earn my award. I didn't want to cheat and claim I had 75 feet ballasted when I didn't. So what was I to do? I didn't want to lay an additional 6 feet of track just to ballast it just for this award. So, I reread the requirement. It is so obvious...

And since I only need 50 feet, I am fine. I could even pull a Guilford and start "rationalizing" some of the unnecessary track.            ... that was a Guilford joke ... sort of ...

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