CP Executive train in Albany
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Change has come to the D&H Colonie Main layout.
For a long time now I have been dissatisfied with my layout. It ran good, and it looked good, but I rarely operated on it. There was too much junk from scenery construction on part of it, and that made it unenjoyable to look at. Plus, as I have mentioned previously, my heart just isn't in HO at the moment. It started before Harrison came along, but now that we have so much fun playing with his Brio and Thomas trains I really want a small O scale layout that we can run together. My wife says I am jumping the gun (he is only 17 months old), but as our basement is currently configured there really isn't a good place for an O scale layout.
And, I haven't wanted to work on my layout because I feel like I am throwing money at a project that will ultimately get torn down. One saving grace, though, was that I had enough with scenery already completed to make a serious run at the MMR scenery certificate.
So, I was stuck. I had a plan from an old Model Railroader special issue from the 1980s for a 4x8 Lionel train layout board that could fold up and roll around, and that seemed like a good idea for us. But even that wouldn't fit in my layout area with the HO benchwork in place. So something had to give. And in a fit of
stupidity calculated reasoning, I came up with a plan.
The fourth side of my layout featuring Mohawk Paper isn't designed well. In reality, I would probably have rebuilt it before adding scenery. But it is the farthest area of my layout from construction and would get worked on last. So, I disconnected the benchwork and the wiring and in about 30 minutes I had removed 1/4 of the layout. But that wasn't all. My plan was to rotate everything that remained 90-degees which would create a much open floor space... where even a small Lionel layout could go.
Most decisions I think on for a long time. Sometimes too long a time. Not here. When I explained it to my wife after the fact, she was in disbelief. Even she admitted "You love working on track and scenery, and they are done", but she also countered "you finally got it running, and you never get your layouts that far". I probably should have discussed it with her. She could have talked some sense into me. But oh well. (By the way, the removed layout sections are in the garage at least temporarily though the L-girder benchwork that supported them is now in small pieces).
Then I went to sleep. It wasn't a great stopping point, as I didn't sleep well wondering if I could pull off my plan. But I didn't have regrets, which was a good thing. I woke up early the next morning and disassembled the remainder some more. Next, slid things around until the layout just barely turned 90-degrees. I had literally a half-inch inch of clearance by a support column (otherwise, I would have had to separate the scenery-finished sections which I was loathe to do). My says I overbuild stuff, which is true, though model magazines over-promote benchwork that overkill for most layouts. Either way, my layout wiring with the wing nuts and hockey pucks made for quick disassembly, reassembly, and leveling. I had it all back together in its new configuration in about an hou. My back and leg muscles are sore now though. At 40+ this hurts... what will it be like at 60?
My layout is now a purely switching layout, but I don't ever operate it anyway. The "staging yard" is a scenic example of a railyard being torn up, two of the sidings in North Menands aren't useful for operations anyway (one has building clearance issues, the other never received a freight car in the time period I model), etc. This is a layout to let me build stuff, which I enjoy more than operating.
So, the future is open for something new. I am looking forward to building a small layout for Harrison that we can share. And, I still have one section of my layout (Keis and Norlite) that I can work on to scratch my buildnig itch. Who knows... in a couple of years maybe I will keep my HO layout and expand it further after all?