Model Railway

It has taken a long time to get here. While I walked, I thought a lot about the journey itself and where I was going to go. It was easy to question each step and doubt that most of them were worthwhile. After all, I’ve been here before.

The Plan

Is not original and I think that’s what makes me so proud of it. When I introduced it, I wrote:

A week ago, Simon Dunkley posted a comment on another post suggesting I take a look at this model railway plan:

Shortly afterward I did just that and then followed that up with a comment and post to say how much I liked the plan and how keen I was to see how it would turn out. This week in an email exchange the subject of the plan came up again. Something about the moment caused me to see just how very well that particular plan works for me. So, I’m just gonna make myself a copy. Granted, to fit my space, I’ve edited the plan but the concept remains much the same as originally presented. Beyond just the track plan but I can see a version that just looks so very right to me in terms of scenic treatment and story. With no reservations I’m moving forward. This inertia feels very good and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

From track plans to train movements

In model railroading we often refer to a theatre metaphor and how the layout is the stage, the trains the actors, and on and on. It is with an earnest apology that I begin my version of that same old story.

For the layout to work, to operate, it is flanked by a temporary staging wing – one added to each end. They are where trains come from and where the trains go. Each is sized to accomodate one entire train length. That leaves the layout. In this case, the layout really is the stage and it’s the place where we watch the interaction that happens as a train makes its way up from its origin to the salt shed located just off stage left.

Our engine crews can handle two or three cars at a time. The track is light and the engine really isn’t that powerful so that train length seems to work quite well. The big business on the railroad is road salt and things tend to be at their busiest during the fall and winter season as we scramble to build up a supply before the snow hits. We order about as many carloads as we can get and the railroad delivers them all to us, eventually. It’s not uncommon for the big railroad to drop a dozen or so cars at our interchange siding. We make our way and start peeling off the cars, three at a time, and shove them up the line toward the salt shed. We have to unload the things one bay at a time so, when we get there, we stay with them and use our engine to advance them, again one bay at a time, while they’re unloaded. The salt shed was actually built along an old passing siding. The mainline here goes no where now and we use it to store the now emptied cars. With those first three out of the way, we’ll run a light engine back down to the interchange and repeat with the next three cars, and the next three, and the next until the entire cut is empty. With the full cut now emptied and the lot shoved alongside Prince Street, on the old mainline, we’ll start moving the empty cars back down to the interchange. We pay for these cars so our priority is to get them unloaded and back to the big railroad as fast as we can.

My miniature stage…

I’m building a model railway at home. As details of the layout are finalized and construction passes certain stages, I’ll add to this page to mark that progress.